CLEVELAND — From the top-down, the Guardians' remarkable 2022 season is not going unnoticed.
In recognition of Cleveland's unexpected American League Central Division championship, President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti has been named Major League Baseball's Executive of the Year by Sporting News. It's the second time Antonetti has earned the prestigious honor, previously doing so back in 2017.
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Antonetti has been with the organization since 1999, taking over most player personnel duties upon his promotion to general manager in 2011 before being named president in 2016. Under his leadership, the Indians/Guardians have become one of the AL's most-consistent winners, making six postseason appearances along with four division titles and a league pennant.
Unlike his first Sporting News accolade in 2017, when the Indians won 102 games and were considered prime World Series contenders, this year's group was not seen as one of baseball's heavyweights when the year began. However, the young Guards stunned all prognosticators not just by winning the AL Central, but by advancing to the ALDS and battling the powerful New York Yankees to a decisive fifth game.
As one might imagine, Antonetti's influence was all over this talented roster, namely through a new seven-year contract with star third baseman José Ramírez back in April. All-Stars Emmanuel Clase and Andrés Giménez were also acquired in earlier trades involving Cleveland legends Corey Kluber and Francisco Lindor, respectively, and several former draftees made contributions after being brought up through one of baseball's best farm systems.
Though MLB names an official Executive of the Year following a vote by all 30 teams, the Sporting News accolade is considered by many to be more prestigious, as it first came on the scene way back in 1936. Hall of Fame Indians owner Bill Veeck became the first Cleveland front office leader to earn the honor in 1948, and Antonetti now joins former GMs John Hart and Mark Shapiro in winning the award multiple times.
Besides Antonetti, several members of the Guardians organization are expected to be up for various postseason awards: Five players have been nominated for AL Gold Gloves at their respective positions, with left fielder Steven Kwan and center fielder Myles Straw additionally coming out on top in the analytics-based Fielding Bible Awards across the entire league. Ramírez is also a Hank Aaron Award finalist as one of the AL's best offensive players, and could factor into the MVP discussion, as well.