Re: Tampa Bay may have sports writers worse than Cincinnati
I think they gave it to him due to him being able to improve not only their SS defense but how he helped improve their overall team defense. I am not suggesting I agree with them, but it's something that I believe I had heard earlier in the season. He brought an abysmal defense up to above average, whilst only playing mediocre defense himself.
The only way I can really rationalize it is if they feel he was the key guy that helped improve their staff era from 14th in the AL in '07 (5.53) to 2nd in the AL in '08 (3.76). Their staff sans Kazmir is heavily defense dependent w/ only Kazmir striking out 1 or more per IP, no one else was close. The pitching was the key to their 60 game turnaround from 30 games under to 30 games over (roughly speaking). Last year they had 2 starters including Kazmir go over 180 innings, this year 4 starters (Garza had 179.7) and the one that didn't was Kazmir (due to injury). But the real difference was in the pen, how much of that had to do with starters going long into games most of the time, as opposed to many new faces in the pen?
Myself I would have voted for the GM, he did a heck of a job in the offseason.