Boston picked up manager John Farrell’s option, only a couple of months after picking up his 2017 option without yet committing to him for 2018. Dave Dombrowski has made it clear that he likes him here with the Red Sox, frequently praising Farrell, notably about his presence around the team, how the players play hard for him and his voice in the clubhouse. The timing of the decision shows that the team doesn’t want to have Farrell on the hot seat to start his fifth year as Red Sox skipper this coming spring.
Farrell’s tenure with the Red Sox has, so far, been a roller coaster. In his first year as manager, 2013, the team won their third World Series title in under ten years. Boston then spent two straight seasons in the basement of their division, desperate for a winning season and a stable all-around team. Just after the 2015 All-Star break, Farrell announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and would not manage the team for the remainder of the year. Interim manager at the time, Torey Lovullo, had tremendous success filling in for the final couple of months of the season, despite the team being well out of the playoff picture. The second-half 2015 success carried into almost the entirety of the 2016 regular season, before subsequently being swept by the Indians in the ALDS after Boston had just been crowned AL East champs. Finally, Lovullo was then named manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, pretty much ensuring that Farrell’s job was safe.
As you can probably tell, a Red Sox team managed by John Farrell is near unpredictable. This upcoming 2017 Boston team is already AL favorites, being deemed a “super team” by Yankees GM Brian Cashman and have very good odds to win another World Series, thanks to the trade to acquire Chris Sale, a stud, late-inning reliever in Tyler Thornburg and sufficient 1B/DH in Mitch Moreland.
Overall, this Red Sox team is very young, with guys like Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts, to name a few, headlining the club. These players are still developing their game and, of course, are young men. They absolutely need at least a decent manager to help them along the way, now more than ever, since leader David Ortiz is officially retired. Sure, we continue to hear about Farrell’s “voice” and all of that jazz, but you need more than a good voice to be a successful manager. The 2017 team as it stands right now has high hopes, and if they fail to meet such expectations, Farrell’s job should be in question.
Farrell seems to make one costly mistake or bad decision a game, or at least every other game. Whether it be putrid bullpen management, leaving a starter in one too many pitches long, bad lineups or you name it, it’s always something with him. Dombrowski has put an incredibly talented team in the hands of John Farrell, and that’s scary. Boston truly has something going here and may very well be on the right track to even long-term success, and I don’t want Farrell toying with that.
I would guess that the team’s 2016 success showed Dealin’ Davey that John’s voice had a positive impact and wants to keep that. I get that, but his bad decisions game after game should not just be swept under the rug. Just because the team picked up his option for 2018 should not mean that his job is 100% safe. If he has a solid year as skipper next season, reduces his mistakes and starts to think logically as a manager, good for him, maybe he can stick around a little longer. If Farrell is still the same old Farrell, the front office shouldn’t be afraid to confront him about it and do something about it. Dombrowski has a reputation of doing just that, and I don’t want it to stop here if push comes to shove. I’d like to believe that if, at worst, Farrell does even a mediocre job in 2017, it won’t completely hurt the team and they still amount to their expectations and become legitimate contenders.