The Boston Red Sox season ended Monday and John Farrell’s time as manager ended today. The team tweeted: The Red Sox announced today that John Farrell will not return as manager in 2018. A search for a new manager will begin immediately.
And so Farrell’s time in Boston ends with him being ejected after defending Dustin Pedroia in Game 4. And thus ends one of biggest managerial rollercoasters in Red Sox, if not baseball, history. Five seasons, one World Series title, three division titles, and two last place finishes.
I mean, do you remember where the Sox were before Farrell arrived? They were 69-93, 26 games out of first when Bobby Valentine was done with that group. And Farrell won a ring the next season. There was a time when being the guy to lead the Red Sox to a World Series would’ve meant a job for life. But not anymore. Even winning 93 games and a division title wasn’t enough to save Farrell this year.
And for a lot of Sox fans, it was a move that was too long in coming. For one reason or another, Farrell was a punching bag in Boston. TV ratings fell 15% and there just wasn’t any buzz or juice around the club. How much of that is on Farrell? We’re about to find out.
There’s a 200 million payroll and a ton of talent in that clubhouse, but that clubhouse didn’t seem to be on the same page this year. I mean that was one weird-ass place, going back to the beanball incidents in Baltimore. And of course the Apple Watch incident. There didn’t seem to be unity or cohesion in the post-Papi era. Some of that’s on Farrell and maybe that changes without him there, but not all of it is. And it’s a project for the next guy to fix.
And as always, the question is: did Farrell get a fair shake? Hard to say. He won a ring and three division titles in five years. That’s pretty good. But at the same time, they were 1-6 in their last 7 playoff games, so that’s not good. Not good at all. Then again, last year they lost to a Cleveland team that was a whisker from winning it all and this year it’s to a loaded Astros team.
And for all the criticism of his handling of the bullpen, he managed to win 15 extra-inning games this season, which shows he’s doing something right in late game situations. But something seemed off. Something didn’t feel right. And whether that was on him or on the people who criticized him, it’s hard to tell.
Bizarrely enough, he kept his job after back-to-back last place finishes and lost his gig after back-to-back first place finishes. Conspiracy theorists would argue that Farrell probably would’ve been fired after the 2015 season if he hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer, so he never would’ve had the shot to get those back-to-back titles, but he still managed to turn it around. And now he’s out of a gig.
Now someone else will get to drink from the firehose of pressure and attention that is managing the Red Sox. Good luck with that. Just know this, winning the division and 90 plus games in Boston is just enough to get you fired. Check that. Winning a world championship, divisional titles and 90 games is just enough to get you fired. At least in Boston. Farrell deserved another year. He deserved better. But you don’t get that in Boston with the Red Sox. Whoever takes that job better know that and go in with their eyes wide open.