Steve Phillips has a column up on Fanhouse where he evaluates all the managers in baseball and then ranks them in amorphous categories.
Best I can tell, the rankings aren’t based on anything other than Phillips’ observations as a broadcaster. And Phillips, of course, is the perfect person to analyze managerial talent. What, with his 6 whole years of experience as a GM and his sparkling record of hiring decisions. (He only made one, replacing Bobby Valentine with the incredibly creative and inspiring Art Howe in 2003).
Anyway, according to Phillips, Joe Maddon is the 8th best manager in baseball. Aside from Terry Francona, the seven managers on the list ahead of Maddon appear to be there based on career achievements that are hard to dispute (although, Jim Leyland is pretty questionable and I know a lot of people that think hometown boy Tony LaRussa is pretty overrated as a skipper).
I am not sure, however, why Phillips has Tito five spots ahead of Maddon. Since 2008 (the first year Maddon had talent equivalent to the talent Tito had) Maddon’s team is 27-21 against Francona’s.*
*Maddon’s team also won 4 out of the 7 games it played against Francona’s team during one particularly relevant week late in October of 2008…