Baseball

MLB notes: Managers who oversaw turnarounds honored

Marlins continue to unload roster

November 14, 2012 

Davey Johnson was picked as the NL Manager of the Year on Tuesday after the Washington Nationals bolted to the best record in baseball.

Johnson, who turns 70 in January, was honored for the second time. He was picked as the AL's top manager in 1997, hours after he resigned from the Baltimore Orioles in a feud with owner Peter Angelos.

Johnson is set to leave the Nationals dugout after 2013 and become a team consultant.

"World Series or bust," Johnson said on the MLB Network. "It's going to be my last year, anyway."

In balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Johnson received 23 of the 32 first-place votes. Dusty Baker of NL Central winner Cincinnati got five firsts and was second and Bruce Bochy of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants got four firsts and was third.

Voting for the award was done before the playoffs.

Washington won its second-ever major post-season award. Bryce Harper was voted NL Rookie of the Year on Monday.

Washington went 98-64 this year, taking over the NL East lead in late May and staying in first the rest of the way. Boosted by Harper, Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez and their fresh "Natitude," they brought post-season baseball to Washington for the first time since 1933.

The playoffs didn't go quite so well. Minus Stephen Strasburg — team execs decided the ace had pitched enough while recovering from elbow surgery — Washington blew a 6-0 lead and lost the deciding Game 5 of the division series to St. Louis.

Johnson oversaw a diverse roster, one made up of young and old, Washington veterans and newcomers. Johnson spoke with a soft, raspy tone but always held his team's attention. He would occasionally raise his voice — he liked to holler "whack-o!" when the Nationals homered.

In June 2011, Johnson was working as a senior adviser with the Nationals when Jim Riggleman suddenly resigned midway through the season. Johnson took over and the Nationals finished 80-81, barely missing out on their first winning season. Johnson was brought back for another try.

Johnson managed the New York Mets to the 1986 championship and later guided Cincinnati and the Orioles. He returned to managing in 1999 with the Los Angeles Dodgers for two years.

As a player, Johnson was a four-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover and two-time World Series champion.

Melvin edges Showalter

Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics earned the American League Manager of the Year honor after he, too, guided his team to a huge turnaround season.

Melvin beat out Baltimore's Buck Showalter in a close vote. Under Melvin, the A's made a 20-game improvement, finished 94-68 and won the AL West.

Like Johnson, Melvin became a two-time winner, having been chosen in 2007 with Arizona.

Melvin got 16 first-place votes. Showalter got the other 12 firsts, and Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox finished third.

The A's were one of baseball's biggest surprises, especially after trades and injuries rocked the roster. Oakland never panicked under Melvin's cool demeanor and overtook Texas in the final week to win the division. The Athletics lost in the first round of the playoffs to Detroit.

Marlins trade away five

The Miami Marlins continued to swing a sledgehammer at their underwhelming 2012 team, agreeing to trade starters Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielder/infielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck, an ex-Legend, to the Toronto Blue Jays, a league source confirmed.

Among the players the Marlins are getting back: shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino and infielder Adeiny Hechavarria. Outfield prospect Jake Marisnick, right-handed pitching prospect Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Jeff Mathis also are heading to South Florida, a source said.

The transaction isn't sitting well with the club's cornerstone player. Giancarlo Stanton Tweeted: "Alright, I'm ------ off!!! Plain & Simple."

The stunning agreement came less than a year after the Marlins added Reyes, Buehrle and closer Heath Bell in a $191 million spending spree as they moved into a new ballpark. The binge raised high hopes, but the Marlins instead finished last in the NL East.

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