Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Strong Case For Alex Cora To Become The 2018 AL Manager Of The Year

While we don't think he'll actually get the honor (Kevin Cash's 'blue-smoke-and-mirrors' act with Tampa is just too good), there is a very strong case to be made for Red Sox Manager Alex Cora being named American League Manager Of The Year. Keep in mind that this award is given out strictly for regular-season performance as a skipper—Cora's eventual World Series Championship has no bearing on this vote. Having said that, Cora's contributions to Boston winning a franchise-record 108 games cannot be over-stated. Some of his key attributes were:

• Infusing a new, aggressive attitude at the plate and on the base-paths—an attitude that teased out the best in players like Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi;
• Creating a culture of open but frank communication—engendering an "all-for-one" attitude among both position players and pitchers—with no high-salaried prima donnas allowed. Remember the departure of Hanley Ramirez?;
Sticking with a well-reasoned game plan—letting him stay committed to players like David Price, Rafael Devers, Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly;
Fearless use of non-traditional tactics—like actual hit-and-run plays, bringing in starting pitchers at key junctures (albeit mostly in the post-season) and insisting on a batting style that eschewed trendy "launch angles" and focused on hunting good pitches to put in play;

All in all, this collection of attributes (and many more) were an integral part of the success of this historic Red Sox season. Clearly, Cora deserves to be named Manager Of The Year—unfortunately, it might be a long-shot this year.