would be the headline is Jamie Moyer becomes a coach and wins Manager of the Year. Gotta be.
Anyway Matt Williams won the award this year despite media and one set of fans believing he totally blew Game 2, and another, perhaps wiser, set of fans believing he blew game 4. Of course, these games are irrelevant, the vote does not take into account the post-season. That's silly. If we're going to have these awards you might as well take into account the part of the year that you consider most important but whatever. I don't get worked up about awards.
So... Matt Williams? Sure.
Look, the MOY is going to be the manager who had the most wins that had any sort of large improvement over the previous year. If there are two or more such managers we move on to tie breakers such as "best record", "have they won it before", "have they done better jobs by this measurement". If we don't have any that we like we might pick a middling win team that had a huge improvement (but probably not). We're not looking to think too much here.
This year the best teams were the Nats, Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates/Giants. Williams' team won the most games and had the 2nd biggest improvement. Easy peasy. We're done here right? That Hurdle was second was a testimony to the perceived lack of talent in Pittsburgh. He actually won fewer games this year. Bochy in 3rd had the biggest improvement of the playoff teams but didn't win his division. Plus, Bochy has won it before (but only once.*) Mattingly, whose team won two more games and the 2nd most in the league overall, finished 6th, because I think someone smart said he was a bad manager and I don't want to look like a fool voting for him.
It's a nicety. A birthday card. It's a gesture that's appreciated but is meaningless because there are set goals in sports that mean everything. Williams didn't win the World Series, get there, or even win a playoff series. He didn't have a good managing season in my book. But bully to you on that MOY thing.
On trading Zimmermann:
There were rumors the Nats and Cubs were talking about a ZNN deal. There's a good deal of sense in the plan on some level. The Cubs need pitching, are located in ZNN's beloved Midwest, and have an abundance of top prospects to send in a deal. ZNN is one year away from FA and looks like he'll try to maximize his value. Of course on another level it makes next to no sense. The Nats are a playoff team trying to win it all and ZNN has been the pitcher that's gotten them the best results during this window. And not by any fluke - he's a really good pitcher. The Cubs on the other hand will probably sign a pitcher but if they can get a young good one for a young good bat (which any team should do as bats are more reliable) that's probably the way to go.
That the rumor was out there serves as a warning shot. The next two offseasons are going to clarify the Nats position. Are they in it to win it? Or more likely are they in it to be in it and if they win it - hey great! All the impressions I get is that the Nats want to be a consistently good, let's say... "upper middle class" payroll, team. Don't be cheap but no bank breaking. Go for 92 wins, getting to 102 is meaningless. Win enough, get in enough and you'll chance into a series or two. Under that thinking dealing ZNN makes sense. They'd still be good enough without him and they could get a young player who will help them a couple years from now on the cheap. Sustained success instead of peaks of excellence. We'll see. Again just my impression.
*Should he have won it again? Based on the criteria probably not. He won 98 games with a 22 game improvement in 1998, but Dierker won 102 games on an 18 game improvement. Bochy finished 2nd. In 2004 he got to 87 wins on a 23 game bump but had managed 5 straight losing seasons and had lost credibility (I know! The current BEST MANAGER OF ALL TIME had 5 straight losing seasons!). Finished 6th. He won 88 off a 16 game improvement in 2009, but Jim Tracy would come along and be standing in the right spot when the Rockies took off and ended up winning the West despite a 18-28 start. (UNDER CLINT HURDLE! We're full circle now.) He'd finish 4th behind Hurdle and the "always going to get votes" LaRussa and Torre who didn't do anything special that year but had last names of LaRussa and Torre.