Photo Credit: The Boston Globe
John Farrell’s time in Boston has come to an end. Farrell won a World Series Championship in 2013, followed by two back to back last place finishes, before finishing in first place in 2016 and 2017. Despite the two back to back first place finishes the last two years, you may be asking how is that bad or why was a manager fired for that? The answer is simple. It’s the Boston Red Sox. The PR, the media, the big market. You simply aren’t allowed to fail in Boston. Well, when you have a David Price, a Chris Sale, a decent offense, and arguably the best closer in all of baseball, you’re supposed to at least come close to winning a championship. Instead, the Red Sox have played absolutely terrible in the first round of the playoffs BOTH YEARS. In 2016, the Red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in three straight games. In 2017, the Astros stomped all over the Red Sox in the first round. The Sox were able to win just one game against the Astros before they were headed home in the first round yet again. Shocking, I know.
Sure, not all this is Farrell’s fault if any at all. John Farrell can’t hit for power. John Farrell can’t pitch like an ace is supposed to pitch like. John Farrell can’t get passed 3 innings as a starter. Ahh you see…if the players played like they’re supposed to play, and got the job done, we likely aren’t having this conversation right now. What John Farrell can do though, is to make sure he’s getting the most out of all his players. We saw great years from Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr, Rick Porcello, and Xander Bogaerts last year. What about this year though? Hanley sucked, Mookie was subpar, Jackie Bradley Jr provided the defense, but hardly anything with the bat. Rick Porcello was awful. He definitely did not have anything close to his Cy Young stuff at all, which we may never see again. Xander Bogaerts regressed with the bat. Maybe that’s the kind of player he will be though, simply average. To be fair, each player besides Rick Porcello dealt with a few injuries, but looking past that, the whole offense just wasn’t good enough. You need more. A lot more. Too many players took major step backs, however this team still won the American League East which is really impressive itself.
Photo Credit: The Boston Globe
Here are some issues with John Farrell from my perspective.
1. His personality: Farrell’s straightforward, cut dry, boring personality possibly made players feel they couldn’t connect with him as well. We saw that come into play with Drew Pomeranz, Dustin Pedroia, and especially David Price.
2. The Manny Machado incident: When Matt Barnes threw at the head of Manny Machado’s, Dustin Pedroia was seen in the dugout yelling to Manny “hey it wasn’t me.” Pedroia was likely referring to the situation as John Farrell’s decision, but we’ll never know because as stated before, the communication seems disoriented at times.
3. The In-Game Managing: This certainly goes on with every team where the manager gets criticized for making many mistakes within the game. However, in Boston, everyone seems to notice. Some instances that occurred in the Red Sox season were not using a pinch hitter or the wrong pinch hitter in a given situation and mishandling some roles in the bullpen like continuing to go with Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree over and over again. Those two were just simply not getting the job done. Blowing leads left and right. Let’s keep throwing them out there. Awesome.
But last season is in the past, let’s move forward. The Red Sox probably have a 2-3 year window to win a championship so, who are some good managerial candidates to manage this young, excited core we call the Red Sox? Let’s look at three options.
Alex Cora: Known for being able to communicate with his teammates and players extremely well. Reminds me of a Torey Lovullo, who everyone talks about. Great leadership, good communicator.
Ron Gardenhire: A former Manager of the Year Award winner. He brings a laid back style, humorous personality. Got the most from his players in his time with the Minnesota Twins. Well respected around the game, and a proven winner and big league manager.
Brad Ausmus: former manager of the Detroit Tigers. He has connections with Dave Dombrowski. Brad Ausmus is respected, one would assume. His time in Detroit came to an ugly end, but maybe Ausmus is at best managing a younger group. Who knows, but Ausmus will definitely be on the list.
Whoever the next manager of the Boston Red Sox is, they’ll have to be able to handle the media. When the failures come, how will he be able to regroup? Will he be able to communicate with his players on an everyday basis? This offseason for the Red Sox is already off to an interesting start, let’s see how it plays out in the end. One thing we do know is that next year, you bet the Boston Red Sox will be going for the World Series again, and anything less, will be considered a failure. Brace yourselves Sox nation. Change is coming.