Prior to the AL Manager of the Year award being announced, the Boston media were all in agreement; John Farrell was the favorite to win the award. He took the Boston Red Sox from worst to first that included a World Series title. But in the end the votes fell just short for Farrell and instead it was former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona who took home the hardware for guiding his upstart Cleveland Indians to 92 wins and a postseason appearance.
Not taking anything away from Francona, he simply worked his magic with another ball club and reinforced why he was so successful during his tenure in Boston. To simply state it, he’s one hell of a manager.
Farrell is playing the gracious runner-up today, saying all the right things on how he’s grateful just to be mentioned with Francona and Melvin and it is an honor to represent the Boston Red Sox.
But what the first year manager did with a group of fragile players that remained from a horrific season that lasted way too long last year was in his own right, magical.
Sure more money was spent to lure mid-level free-agents who were a key ingredient in Farrell’s recipe for success. But back in late March when the predictions were made, this was a group of Red Sox that were picked to improve from last year but not even make the playoffs by many. An AL East title, followed by an AL Pennant, capped off by the organization’s third championship in the last ten years immediately makes Farrell an icon in Boston Red Sox baseball.
Melvin and Francona had much smaller payrolls to work with and one could argue that they managed their way to success by getting the most out of their players and making key moves at crucial times throughout the season that led to victories.
But for John Farrell and the work he did this past season, he deserved to be crowned the AL Manager of the Year. He not only restored faith in Red Sox Nation, he made this franchise respectable again preceding a manager who did everything in his power to destroy it. 97 wins doesn’t come without a skipper who can guide his boat through rough waters at times, while never losing control. Farrell did just that and perhaps it’s the turn around and achieving far greater results than anyone thought was possible.
Or he was simply a victim of the bias that surrounds large market teams with one of the biggest payrolls in baseball. You be the judge.