Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians and Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates won the Manager of the Year awards Tuesday after guiding their small-budget teams to charming turnarounds.
A's manager Bob Melvin, vying to repeat at the American League's top manager, finished third. Francona edged John Farrell of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox for the A.L. honor 112 points to 96 in a close vote by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Francona garnered 16 of 30 first-place votes to 12 for Farrell. Melvin received the other two and finished with 36 points.
It was the first Manager of the Year honor for Francona, even though -- in an interesting twist -- he steered the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. In his first season with the Indians, he directed them to a 24-win improvement and their first playoff berth in six years.
They lost the A.L. wild-card game to Tampa Bay, but voting is conducted before the postseason.
"This was one of the funnest years I've ever had," Francona said in an interview on MLB Network.
Hurdle was a runaway winner, selected first on 25 of 30 ballots by the N.L. panel after taking the Pirates to the playoffs in their first winning season since 1992.
Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers came in second and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves finished third.
Owners meetings: Expanded instant replay for umpires' calls is virtually certain to be in place by opening day, and there's a chance a rule could be adopted to prevent runners from bowling over catchers at the plate.
MLB Executive Vice President Joe Torre met with general managers Tuesday and said he expects approval for the replay plan from owners, players and umpires by January.
Virtually all umpires' calls other than balls and strikes, checked swings and some foul tips will be reviewable. Owners are expected to give their go-ahead Thursday for funding and then approve the rules when they meet in January.
Torre also said momentum is gaining toward taking action that would help prevent collisions at home plate. A written proposal will be developed that will be discussed at the winter meetings next month.
Phillies: Marlon Byrd and the team agreed to a $16 million, two-year contract. The 36-year-old outfielder hit a career-high 24 homers last season for the New York Mets and Pittsburgh. He batted .291 last season with 88 RBIs.
DeRosa retires: Blue Jays infielder Mark DeRosa is retiring after a 16-year major league career that included the 2010-11 seasons with the Giants.
Yankees: General manager Brian Cashamn said keeping Robinson Cano is priority No. 1, but reiterated the team might be outbid for the second baseman.
"I think he loves the money; I think we're going to have a substantial offer, but somebody might come in and have a much more substantial offer," Cashman said. "That's just the way it works."