Good thing the front office signed Paul Molitor to that three-year contract extension, because they would have looked pretty silly if they’d let the AL Manger of the Year walk! Or not. I dunno. Do people care about this award? I only do when the Twins win.
But anyway, yes, Molitor was named the 2017 AL Manager of the Year, beating out fellow finalists Terry Francona of the Indians and A.J. Hinch of the Astros for the honor. It wasn’t particularly close, either.
Paul Molitor received 18 of the 30 first-place votes to outdistance Indians' Terry Francona, last year's winner. pic.twitter.com/9Mw42tIE9v— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) November 14, 2017
It makes sense. The BBWAA voters generally vote for the manager of a team that performed much better than expected. The Twins definitely did that, going from a 59-103 record last season to an 85-77 this season. The 2017 Twins were also the first MLB team ever to go from 98 losses or more one season to the playoffs the next.
Molitor is the third Twins manager to win the honor. Considering the award was made in 1983, you can probably guess who those two were. (For the seriously daft, young, or forgetful among us, it was Tom Kelly in 1991 and Ron Gardenhire in 2010.) Molitor also becomes just the second Hall of Fame player to win, with the other being Frank Robinson in 1989.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, wait — didn’t the Astros win 101 games AND the World Series?” keep in mind these awards don’t include the post-season and shut your pie-hole. Are you even a Twins fan?
And as far as Terry Francona is concerned, he won last year. He can’t win two years in a row! Seriously. Former Braves manager Bobby Cox is the only person to win the award in back-to-back years, doing so in 2004 and 2005. No American League manager has ever won in consecutive years.
Of course, a Twins award post would not be complete without mentioning Byron Buxton. I almost feel like it was Buxton who really deserves this AL Manager of the Year award, because it seems like he’s been winning every award these days.
On the NL side of things, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo won honors. Lovullo, if you recall, was one of the finalists for the Twins’ managerial position back in 2014, but the front office went with Molitor instead.
UPDATE [6:16 pm CT]:
Maybe my Mom should be running this site.