It has always been amazing to me how easy it is for people to say someone should be fired, their livelihood taken away.
Ho-hum, just fire John Farrell. Why? We don’t like him. That’s reason enough, right?
Get that guy who has won three AL East titles and a World Series and who beat cancer and developed a new core of players (and, yes, also finished last two years) out of there.
He got swept in the playoffs last year. Overall he’s 12-11 in the postseason in his five years with the Red Sox. So what if he won a championship? He had no input in that. Just when he loses.
In Boston, getting beat in four games in the first round of the playoffs means it has to be the manager’s fault. In each of the last two years, he should have won the World Series, right? Torey Lovullo would have led them all the way, right? Oops. His Diamondbacks just got swept by the superior Dodgers.
Know how many managers in baseball have done what Farrell has done the past five years? How about nobody. Zero.
Pick a guy. Any guy.
What has Terry Francona done the last five years? One AL title, two divisional titles. Reached Game 7 of the World Series in 2016 and lost. Currently tied, 2-2, with the Yankees in the ALDS. He’s 12-8 over the last five years in the postseason. Prior to that, we know he won two World Series. And there’s lament that Francona was let go here.
How about Joe Maddon?
Two divisional titles, one World Series. Really close. He’s 19-15 in the playoffs the last five years.
Miami manager Don Mattingly won three division titles with the Dodgers and went 8-11 in the postseason.
How about St. Louis manager Mike Matheny? The Cardinals are always really good. Again, really close. Matheny ties Farrell with three division titles and has one National League pennant. He’s 14-16 in the postseason the last five years.
The Yankees’ Joe Girardi? No division championships. He’s 3-3 in the playoffs so far in the last five years.
Here’s a good one. Bruce Bochy with the Giants? He has three rings overall, but in the last five years, no division championships and one World Series title. He’s 14-8 in the playoffs in that time.
How about Buck Showalter, generally regarded as one of the best managers in baseball? What has he done the last five years? One division championship, 3-5 in the postseason.
We suppose that if Grady Little can get fired by this ownership after going to Game 7 of the ALCS in 2003, anyone can get fired.
If Red Sox management wants a new face, a new voice, it’s their prerogative to make a change. The fact that John Henry, Dave Dombrowski, and Farrell did not return calls is indicative that something is being discussed. Last season, it was pretty much a slam-dunk that Farrell was coming back, and two months after the sweep at the hands of the Indians, the Red Sox picked up his contract option for 2018.
Maybe Farrell won’t be so lucky this time.
There’s an interesting decision to be made here, because how many of you in Red Sox Nation really thought the Red Sox were a better team than the Astros? If you’re honest about it, you’d know that the Houston lineup was far superior.
The hope the Red Sox had was in their pitching — mainly two 17-game winners going back-to-back against a lineup that was 21-23 against lefty starters. That didn’t pan out because the lefties didn’t do their job. I fell for the lefty starter thing and had the Red Sox winning, three games to two. I was wrong.
So if you believe the Astros had the upper hand in this one, why was this the manager’s fault? The nitpicking of this move and that move happens all the time. I do it constantly because we react to every move that’s made, good or bad.
Actually, we seldom give credit for good moves. Most of Farrell’s moves are based on analytics, an extensive packet of information that is deciphered before the game. In the past, that was Lovullo’s job, to take the data and parcel it out to Farrell.
So there are a few things that can happen here.
1. Farrell comes back and finishes out his contract.
2. Farrell is fired and replaced by a new voice. Brad Ausmus, Jason Varitek, Gary DiSarcina, Brian Butterfield, and Alex Cora all would likely be considered.
3. Farrell is moved to the front office. He is a former farm director for the Indians, and it has been almost a given that at some point he would go to the front office again as a vice president of something.
4. Farrell could say he is moving on. Certainly, the rigors of the job can wear out a manager in Boston.
It has been five years, and sometimes five years is a lifetime. The manager has to take all the garbage that fans and talk-show callers dish out. He’s a human dartboard. He can tune out most of it, but it’s hard to do that. People are always telling him who said what.
It can be maddening. Farrell has pretty much avoided the noise and managed based on his analytics and knowledge of his players. He has managed a good bullpen and had to mix and match a relatively subpar lineup with no power.
So if that’s Farrell’s fault, then he’ll be fired any day now.
It was on his watch that the Red Sox were caught stealing signs illegally with an Apple Watch. Should he be fired for that?
It was on his watch that David Price ambushed Dennis Eckersley. The consensus was that Farrell didn’t handle it well. If he had come down on Price, he would have a Bobby Valentine revolt in the clubhouse.
His teams also played hard for him. They had comeback wins, extra-inning wins that require a heartbeat.
It would be unfair if he got fired. He doesn’t hit for power, and he can’t pitch in Games 1 and 2. But that’s life.
It’s just someone else’s job and livelihood, not yours.