Alex Cora had an incredible first year as a major-league manager. He took over a very talented roster, but one that had stalled out in the first round of the postseason in each of the previous two seasons and clearly needed a new voice. There was plenty of reason for optimism for the new head of Boston’s dugout, but you never know how these things will work out. Clearly, things worked out well in this case. Cora had a historic season, giving the Red Sox their best regular season in franchise history along with a World Series championship. That wasn’t enough to give him the Manager of the Year award, though. He finished second in the voting to Oakland’s Bob Melvin, with the Athletics’ manager receiving 11 more first-place votes and 42 more points overall.
It’s important to remember for these awards that the voting is done prior to the postseason, so Cora’s team dominating the playoff pool has no bearing on these results. If the postseason counted, I’m certain Cora would have won. They aren’t, and that made the race much closer and ultimately not finish in his favor. Honestly, I’m fine with this result. Manager of the Year is the hardest award to have a feel for from the outside, and it’s hard to question Melvin’s merits. The A’s had the lowest payroll in baseball and were never expected to be real contenders. Despite that, Melvin’s team challenged the Astros all year in the West and ultimately made it to the Wildcard Game. For that matter, Kevin Cash (who finished third) had a hell of a case himself. This was a strong class for American League managers, and Cora didn’t come out on top. I’m sure he’ll take the ring over this trophy, though.
You can see the full voting breakdown here. Not surprisingly, both Boston writers (Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic and Rob Bradford of WEEI) voted for Cora.