Yankees: Highway robbery times three and the honor of the game

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Rocco Baldelli instead of Aaron Boone?

I don’t mean to suggest that first-year Minnesota Twins’ manager Rocco Baldelli, who received the AL MOY Award, was undeserving of the honor. Under Baldelli, the Twins won their first AL Central Division crown since 2010, hit a major league-record 307 home runs, and won 101 games — 23 more games than last year and the second-most since the team moved to Minnesota in 1961. At 38-years-old, Baldelli is the youngest manager to win the award.

But let’s be frank. The “Twinkies” played in a division with not one but two 100-game losing teams, the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals. Also, the AL Central had an overall worse won-loss percentage than the AL East.

In fact, the AL East has been and continues to be considered the toughest division in baseball. And, of course, Baldelli’s 25-man roster suffered significantly fewer injuries during 2019. Thus, in contrast to Boone, his managerial acumen was barely tested.

In my view, as time goes on, not only will baseball experts and fans credit Boone for doing a terrific job managing the Savages in 2019 and getting the team deep into the playoffs, but I predict that he also will be identified as doing one of the smartest and most successful managerial jobs ever, given the unprecedented number and type of injuries he had to navigate.