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Francona = Manager of the Year?

There's a lot to like in Amalie Benjamin's excellent comprehensive look at the 2010 Red Sox team. She correctly fingers not just the plague of injuries but poor defense, bad starts by Beckett and Lackey, and atrocious relief pitching as the cause of Boston's demise. But one remark really stood out in the piece, and it's something that I want to take people's pulse on here:

They did right the ship enough to remain technically in contention until the final week of the season. So, was this Francona’s finest season at the helm of the Sox? Pitching coach John Farrell says, unequivocally, yes.

"Without a doubt,’’ said Farrell. "Because of the adversity that was faced, the ever-changing roster, the ever-changing lineup in a given day, most of them surprises and on very short notice. They’re key guys.’’

Francona should be considered for his first Manager of the Year award, but he will be hard-pressed to overtake the Rangers’ Ron Washington or the Twins’ Ron Gardenhire.

Terry for Manager of the Year... huh? Just because Captain Late Hook didn't hear the tic-tic-ticking of playoff elimination until two weeks before the end of the season doesn't mean things weren't over long beforehand. Frankly, I think there's a tendency in the media to idolize managers, maybe because they're the main contact point for the media, maybe so that they keep giving the beat writers good copy. Tito's a great, standup guy, the Mike Lowell of Managers. But Manager of the Year? In a year where the Red Sox go from perennial contender to completely missing the playoffs?

On the other hand, this season didn't have any real personality explosions in the clubhouse. We didn't have any brawls between players or staff. We didn't have a player knock down an aging traveling secretary. We didn't wonder if our manager would be fired over controversial remarks. Usually Manager of the Year goes to a guy whose team significantly improved over the season, but maybe this year should be an exception. What do you think?