The Red Sox have elected to keep manager John Farrell, who was in the final year of his initial three-year contract with the team, signing him through 2017 with a club option for the 2018 season.
Farrell, who served as Boston’s pitching coach from 2007-10, was seen as a perfect fit to take over as the Red Sox manager after longtime skipper Terry Francona stepped down after the September 2011 debacle. However, the Toronto Blue Jays were reluctant to part with Farrell after just one year at the helm and the Red Sox were forced to endure the Bobby Valentine debacle in 2012. After that disastrous season and another disappointing year in Toronto, the Blue Jays were willing to let Farrell take over as manager for the Red Sox (in exchange for the small price of Mike Aviles).
Farrell’s Red Sox won a World Series in his first year at the helm, but slipped to a meager 71-91 season in 2014. However, it’s unfair to blame Farrell for Boston’s disappointing performance last season. Between the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury and the front office’s failure to add veteran depth in the offseason, Farrell faced a number of challenges in his second year on the job.
Still, there are positives to take away from Farrell’s performance last season. While his in-game management might leave a little to be desired, he has shown the ability to run a clubhouse and keep his players in order, which did not ring true during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. With Farrell as manager, Boston has been able to cultivate a friendly, fun-loving atmosphere even in the face of adversity.
And despite not being an elite strategist, having a reliable players’ manager is valuable. Farrell communicates well with Red Sox players and fans and gives the team some security by not having to worry about a cancerous clubhouse. Plus, having as little management overturn as possible is the best way to create a winning culture and by locking up Farrell, the Red Sox seem to be well on their way to doing just that.