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Gabe Kapler wins NL manager of the year; Kevin Cash wins AL honors again

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler watches the team play the San Diego Padres.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler watches the team play the San Diego Padres in San Francisco on Sept. 13. Kapler won the National League’s manager of the year award Tuesday.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash became the second skipper to win manager of the year honors in back-to-back seasons, taking the American League award Tuesday night.

San Francisco’s Gabe Kapler won the NL honor.

Cash led the low-payroll Rays to a second consecutive AL East crown. Tampa Bay (100-62) finished with the AL’s best record before losing to Boston in the Division Series.

Bobby Cox had been the only person to win manager of the year two straight seasons, doing it with Atlanta in 2004-05.

The Rays made it to the World Series in 2020, but Cash came under criticism for removing starting pitcher Blake Snell in the final game. But if anything, quick hooks like that were a fairly normal strategy in this year’s postseason — perhaps another example of Cash and Tampa Bay being ahead of the curve on new ways to approach the game.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash watches players before a game.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash watches players before a game against the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 8 in Baltimore. Cash won the American League manager of the year award Tuesday night.
(Terrance Williams / Associated Press)
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Seattle’s Scott Servais finished second behind Cash in the voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Assn. of America. Houston’s Dusty Baker was third.

Charlie Montoyo of the Blue Jays was fourth, followed by Alex Cora of the Red Sox, Tony La Russa of the White Sox and A.J. Hinch of the Tigers.

Cash received 19 of the 30 first-place votes.

Kapler won the NL award after guiding San Francisco to a franchise-best 107 victories in his second season with the Giants. He beat out Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers and Mike Shildt of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kapler managed two seasons in Philadelphia before being fired. The Giants hired him after Bruce Bochy’s retirement. Kapler had both big shoes to fill — Bochy won three championships with San Francisco — and a struggling team to take over. When the Giants went 29-31 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, it was their fourth straight losing record.

Then, in a year when the star-laden Dodgers and Padres were supposed to compete for NL West supremacy, San Francisco surged to the best record in baseball. The Giants beat out the Dodgers by a game for the division crown, although they lost to Los Angeles in a tightly contested Division Series.

While the Dodgers wait to sort out the Trevor Bauer contract situation, chief executive Andrew Friedman must rebuild the roster and reset the payroll.

Counsell finished second after leading the Brewers to the NL Central title. Shildt was third — a month after he was fired over what Cardinals president John Mozeliak described as philosophical differences.

Brian Snitker of the World Series champion Atlanta Braves and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers were the other managers to receive votes.

Kapler received 28 of the 30 first-place votes, which were cast before the playoffs began.


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