If the Athletics and Orioles both finished as Wild Card teams, I would have felt comfortable that O’s skipper Buck Showalter would win the 2012 American League Manager of the Year award for turning around his team and getting the franchise back in the postseason after 14 years of losing.
But the Rangers fell flat on their face against the A’s and Bob Melvin’s team climbed back from a 13 game deficit to win the AL West.
I have argued that Showalter’s use of the Orioles bullpen, his success in extra-inning and one-run games and overcoming the losses of Jason Hammel and Nick Markakis should make him the leading candidate for the Manager of the Year honor, but Melvin has certainly made a good case for himself now too.
Oakland edged the Angels who acquired Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson via free agency as well as Zack Greinke at the deadline, and swept the two-time defending AL Champion Texas Rangers over the last three games of the season.. Oh, and they did it with a $55 million payroll.
I suppose Buck’s chances will come down to what happens in the postseason. The Orioles certainly have the tougher task ahead, going on the road in a one-game playoff against the Rangers, but they have nothing to lose as no one thought they would be where they are today.