It was a fantastic night for Florida’s baseball teams as they swept the MLB Manager of Year awards. Don Mattingly of the Miami Marlins won the NL Manager of the Year, and Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays took the AL Manager of the Year.
Cash is regarded as one of the best young managers in the league. The Rays were able to finish with a league-best 40-20 record in the shortened season. Cash was able to lead the Rays to their second World Series appearance. The Rays faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2020 World Series.
Cash has been criticized for his infamous game six decision to pull pitching ace, Blake Snell, from the sixth inning. Heading into game six where the Rays needed to win to stay alive in the World Series. Snell was dominant in game six and was able to hold the Dodgers off as the Rays were up by one. Heading into the sixth inning leading by one, Cash made the decision to pull Snell from the inning. He opted to put Nick Anderson in the game. It was a decision that baffled both fans and critics alike. The Dodgers were able to rally against Anderson and win the game 3-1 as they clinched the World Series title.
“Have I reflected on it? There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t reflect on it,” Cash said. “Being in this position we owe it to ourselves and more importantly our players to continue to reflect on those decisions. Yes, I would do it the same way all over again. I would plead for a different outcome, that’s for sure.”
On the National League side, Mattingly took the award after leading the Marlins to their first playoff appearance since 2003. He led the club to a 31-29 record and making it his first winning season with the Marlins in five seasons. Mattingly became the fifth person to win both the MVP and Manager of the Year.
Mattingly had previously played for the New York Yankees as a first baseman from 1982-1995. He was their star captain and made six all-star appearances and won the 1985 AL MVP. He had previously managed the Dodgers where he recorded winning seasons for his tenure there. When asked about how he felt about winning the Manager of the Year and his AL MVP. “They’re just different. The first one feels personal and this one feels more like a team thing,” Mattingly said. “And that’s why I’m proud of it because we’ve struggled for a couple of years and for us to move forward is important, and I think this is a sign that we’re heading in that direction.”
Mattingly was able to keep the success in the playoffs with the Marlins. He led the team to eliminate their first-round opponents, the NL Central division champion, the Chicago Cubs. The Marlins were able to advance to the NLDS where they were swept by the Atlanta Braves.
Mattingly became the Marlins manager in 2016 after spending five successful seasons managing the Dodgers. It took Mattingly five seasons to lead the Marlins back to the playoffs.
Cash first joined the Rays back in 2015 and was able to lead them to the World Series. What made it even more impressive is that the Rays are ranked 28th in the league for payroll with only $29 million. The Rays relied on their pitchers for their impressive season. They were able to match a league record when 12 pitchers recorded at least one save.