They never did that well in the playoffs, although I've never quite understood, on the unbelievable Jeter relay play, why Jeremy Giambi did not slide. That might have changed everything, at least for that series.
Having read MoneyBall, I was aware of Paul DiPodesta, and was not surprised (yet a bit horrified for some reason) when the cash-strapped McCourts first hired him to be GM of the Dodgers. The approach may have been a hit in Oakland, but didn't play as well in L.A.
Stats are indeed important. I don't think Tony La Russa would have done as well as he has without all those computer printouts. But they, as you pointed out, give you the whole picture, by a long shot.
As for the manager of the year, I ordinarily would be okay with a Gardenhire. The reason I think Sciosia should win is the way that he held the team together amidst not only a rash of injuries, but the season-long impact of the Nick Adenhart tragedy.
Kudos certainly to Girardi for the way he has piloted that team. Having the best players doesn't always work. He apparently has been able to keep the egos in check, and driven to a common goal.
Mike Sciosia is the best manager in all of baseball period, by the way.
And Angel fans, I know the team was once considered "small market", but in 2009 they are hardly the Sisters of the Poor themselves in payroll.