It was a deserved recognition for an incredible year by the Guardians, a team that won 92 games and returned to the postseason.
Francona (and the organization as a whole) turned a team full of young, cheap, cost-controlled players into the AL Central champions.
Not only that, but they also moved past the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card round and took the New York Yankees to the maximum of five games in the Division Series.
Francona was the leader during the whole process, as he showed once again he can nurture and guide young talent to achieve big things.
Even though the award obviously has a lot of meaning to Francona, he would give it up if he could magically make one of his players win an award of his own.
“Francona said he’d trade his manager award for Steven Kwan to win the rookie honor ‘in a second,'” the AP’s Tom Withers tweeted.
Francona said he'd trade his manager award for Steven Kwan to win the rookie honor "in a second."
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) November 16, 2022
A Fantastic Debut Season For Kwan
Kwan was among the finalists for the AL ROY award, but ended up in third place as Seattle Mariners star Julio Rodriguez predictably won.
Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman came in second, and Kwan finished third.
Still, the Guardians outfielder got 10 second-place votes and 14 third-place votes: not bad at all for a player who was crucial to Cleveland’s success.
Kwan slashed .298/.373/.400 with six home runs, a 124 wRC+ (100 is considered league-average offensive performance) and 4.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
He also won a Gold Glove in left field: he had 21 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and 10 Outs Above Average (OAA), plus some highlight-reel plays.
Francona recognizes value when he sees it, and he thinks Kwan should have won the AL ROY.