The Red Sox Have Fired John Farrell
I’m not a Fire Farrell guy. I’m not a John Farrell apologist, either. It seems like very few Red Sox fans are apathetic as far as Farrell goes, but that’s where I found myself after yet another quick exit in the postseason. If you wanna fire him, go ahead. If you wanna bring ‘em back, knock yourself out. Well, it appears as though Dave Dombrowski has revealed himself as a Fire Farrell guy, because moments ago, the Red Sox finally fired John Farrell.
And to be honest, like I said, I was prepared for either outcome. Had Dombrowski held his end of the season press conference and said something to the effect of, “The end result isn’t what we wanted, but John is our manager moving forward,” it would not have shocked me. Seeing this morning that the Red Sox have officially announced that Farrell will not return as manager, also not shocking.
It’s been a very strange tenure for this guy in Boston, really. They could’ve hired the biggest dumbass in the world who had never even seen a baseball game before and his approval rating would’ve been through the roof in 2013 just for being the guy after Bobby Valentine, the worst manager in Red Sox history. In 2011, not to bring up bad memories, but the Red Sox collapsed in September after going 7-20, missing the postseason altogether after once holding a 9-game lead. Then, in 2012, Bobby V was hired to basically serve as some form of a disciplinarian that’s also a manager I guess.
Yeah, it didn’t work out. Valentine was one and done, which resulted in the Red Sox frantically attempting to right the ship by prying John Farrell away from the Toronto Blue Jays via trade. After completing the deal, Farrell managed the Red Sox to a World Series title in his first year as the team’s manager. He deserves some credit for that title, but I think Wally the Green Monster could’ve managed that team to a World Series. The 2013 Red Sox were destined to win a championship, given what had happened that year, how that roster was constructed by Ben Cherington, how nobody thought they’d sniff a World Series that year, and just how well they gelled as a group. I mean, for fuck’s sake, Farrell had Brandon Workman standing at the plate with a bat in his hands in the World Series. He wasn’t exactly Casey Stengel in the dugout for Boston that year.
But that championship was followed by two consecutive last place finishes, followed by two consecutive division titles, which had never been done before in the history of the team, but those two consecutive division titles led to seven postseason games, only one of which the Red Sox were victorious. That’s unacceptable. I’m actually more pissed about last year, to be honest. The Astros are straight up the better team in 2017, and they deserved to win and they flat out proved that in every way a team possibly could. However, the Red Sox got trounced in 2016 because they were simply unprepared and caught off guard by the Cleveland Indians, and a lot of that falls on the manager.
Where the Red Sox fucked up was not letting Farrell go last year before Torey Lovullo walked to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where his new team posted the second best run differential in the National League this year. Sure, they got steamrolled by the Dodgers, but there’s more to it than that. Dombrowski has defended Farrell in the past when fans or media have attacked Farrell’s in-game managing skills by saying that he gauges a manager’s effectiveness by their ability to communicate and get the most out of their players on a day to day basis.
Any players that I’ve talked to about Farrell’s communications skills have described it as being severely lacking. And getting the most out of his players on a day to day basis? How many guys on that team took a step back after having good years last year? Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello, etc. I’ll give him a pass on Pablo Sandoval, because he just sucks, but pretty much all of the “Killer B’s” this season took a step back, and Betts even doubled down by saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Yeah, last year was a standout year for me, but you’ll probably never see it again.” That’s the spirit, kid! Shoot for the stars!
Lovullo, on the other hand, every player that I had ever talked to raved about him. Great communicator, got the most from his players, gave guys opportunities that they deserved when they earned them, etc. It’s also worth noting that it’s common to have that kind of relationship with your bench coach, but the point stands that he connected with the players in that Red Sox clubhouse. But that ship has sailed. This isn’t about bashing the organization for not firing Farrell sooner, even though they paid Lovullo close to a manager’s salary in 2016 just to keep him around as Farrell’s replacement, but then let him walk, and fired Farrell within a year anyway without a replacement ready to go. Idiots.
My problem with firing Farrell is, who’s your next guy? I’m a hard pass on Brad Ausmus, who was fired by the Tigers recently, and was also a name that was being considered after Valentine had been fired. I’ve seen enough of him in Detroit to know that I’d never want him within 500 feet of the Red Sox. The name I’ve got eyes on is Alex Cora. He’s one of the smartest baseball minds in the last two decades, and he was a phenomenal teammate which can only translate well to being a manager who can connect with and communicate well with his players. Also, expect Ron Gardenhire to be heavily linked to the Red Sox managerial position, as well.
I’m sure there will be a lot of Jason Varitek talk, at least among the fans, but I’m not entirely sure he wants to return to baseball on a full-time basis like that just yet. In addition to that, I hate the idea of Varitek managing in Boston because it’s the most scrutinized job position in the world aside from President of the United States. I’d hate for Tek to come here, a Red Sox legend, and then have fans and media turn on him if things don’t go well during his managerial tenure. If he wants to manage some day, I honestly hope that it’s somewhere else so that he can forever live on as a legend in Boston.
But like I wrote yesterday in the 2017 Red Sox season obituary, firing Farrell doesn’t fix the team’s biggest flaws. I wouldn’t put the manager as the number one problem this team has, and it might not even be the second. Their starting pitchers failed them once again in the postseason, they featured a lineup with only one player who had an OPS over .800 during the regular season and he didn’t get over that mark until the last day of the season, and the team seemingly has no leader. Oh, and now they have no manager. Other than that, things are awesome.