There’s about to be a new sheriff in Beantown. According to multiple reports, including one by Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, the Boston Red Sox have fired manager John Farrell after five years on the job. He had one year remaining on his deal.
An inevitable decision
Even though Farrell led Boston to a second consecutive American League Eastern Division title this year, the writing appeared to be on the wall after the Red Sox were eliminated by the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the ALDS. This marked the second year in a row that Boston finished in first place, only to look completely outmatched in the postseason.
Not only that, but the Red Sox were outscored by Houston 31-8 in the series and the pitching just looked lost. Considering Farrell is a former MLB pitcher who also served as Boston’s pitching coach from 2007-2010, the staff’s performance was disappointing.
But it’s also worth noting that Farrell, for all of his positive qualities as a manager, was a hire of the old regime led by former GM Ben Cherington. Longtime Detroit Tigers executive Dave Dombrowski is now in charge of the front office and in spite of Farrell guiding Boston to winning the 2013 World Series, he probably wants a manager of his own choosing in the dugout.
It’s not a pretty way to leave Boston, but Farrell’s early exits were getting frustrating in a city with a fan base that demands great results just as intensely as the fans of the AL East rival New York Yankees.
Just the same, perhaps Farrell’s postseason underachievement the past two years can be overshadowed by the good he did with Boston’s young roster. Players like Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and more are looking like a strong core for the Red Sox’s future and the team can easily continue contending for the playoffs for years to come.
Not only that, but Farrell won a World Series as manager and took Boston to the postseason in three of his five years on the job. Not only that, Boston’s World Series win came one year after finishing last in the division during Bobby Valentine’s failure of a tenure.
Farrell did immediately suffer consecutive last-place finishes after winning it all in 2013, but that can primarily be blamed on an aging pitching staff behind former ace Jon Lester and Cherington adding expensive pieces to the lineup and rotation that ultimately failed, such as third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
In spite of that, Farrell is getting blamed and is now looking for a new job.
When push comes to shove, though he did do a lot of good for the team, Farrell’s firing is probably the best decision for the Red Sox’s future. Nothing against the man but he made some questionable decisions in the postseason this year, namely not starting ace Chris Sale on short rest in an elimination game, and Boston just needs a change if they want to keep pace with a young Yankees team who arguably should have won the division this year were it not for an early summer slump.
And just who Dombrowski picks to succeed Farrell is anyone’s guess. The Sporting News listed former Red Sox infielder and Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora as a possibility along with former Boston catcher and team captain Jason Varitek, though the latter has no managerial experience. Another option for the Red Sox is Brad Ausmus, who Dombrowski hired to take over for Jim Leyland in Detroit, but he never really did anything to establish himself as a strong skipper.
Either way, one thing is certain. For all of Farrell’s strengths as a manager, it’s time for Boston to find a dugout leader better suited for this young and exciting team.
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