For me, it's a toss-up in a year where no team radically exceeded expectations to reach the postseason.
Bud Black was able to work similar wonders in San Diego with a team not expecting to contend and took them to the final weekend before finally bowing out of playoff contention.
Bobby Cox was able to bring together an excellent bullpen and integrate a number of rookies into a team that played consistently in reaching the post-season for the first time in five years.
Honourable mentions to Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker for leading their teams to the postseasons after lengthy absences.
- Bud Black - San Diego Padres
- Bobby Cox - Atlanta Braves
- Bruce Bochy - San Francisco Giants
Baltimore's Buck Showalter might be the choice here if we are looking forward to 2011. I'll stick with making a choice from managers who held their posts for the entire 2010 regular season.
As in the National League, I don't see a clear choice, but a number of well-matched candidates, each dealing with different challenges.
Joe Maddon kept a young team in turmoil focused on the task at hand, got the most out of the Rays' pitchers, and led them to their second AL East title in three years.
Runner-up is Ron Gardenhire for keeping the Twins rolling even after the season-ending injury to Justin Morneau, and for another excellent year from their bullpen.
Honourable mention to Terry Francona for keeping the Red Sox within shouting distance despite nearly daily player trips to the disabled list.
- Joe Maddon - Tampa Bay Rays
- Ron Gardenhire - Minnesota Twins
- Terry Francona - Boston Red Sox