The Cleveland Guardians were one of baseball’s pleasant surprises in 2022.
After a quiet offseason, few, if anyone at all, were expecting anything out of the team in their first year with a new name.
All they did was win 92 games and capture their first American League Central title since 2018.
As a result of their surprise season, their manager, Terry Francona, is up for a very familiar honor.
Francona last won the AL Manager of the Year Award in 2013, his first season in Cleveland.
As if it's any surprise …
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) November 7, 2022
Tito A Finalist For AL MOY
Francona being a finalist for the Manager of the Year Award comes as no surprise.
The Guardians had missed the postseason in 2021 after finishing 80-82.
Things didn’t look any better heading into 2022.
But Francona’s experience served him well as he took a team that few expected would be in contention back to the postseason.
The emergence of stars such as Steven Kwan, Josh Naylor, Andres Gimenez, and Triston McKenzie helped give the Guardians a boost as they battled the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins in a tight race in the AL Central.
Ultimately, the Guardians heated up down the stretch and ran away with the AL Central title as the White Sox and Twins began to slump.
Francona, a two-time World Series Champion as a manager, guided the Guardians all the way to the ALDS, where they ultimately fell short at the hands of the New York Yankees.