Red Sox players reportedly unhappy with John Farrell

Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) against the Houston Astros at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) against the Houston Astros at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox are stuck in a position of mediocrity, putting the focus on manager Farrell, whose leadership has been questioned by ‘some’ of his players.

Days after Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe speculated that Red Sox manager John Farrell could start to feel some pressure on his job, Ken Rosenthal reported that ‘some’ players don’t believe their skipper backs them up enough.

Rosenthal, like Abraham, doesn’t believe that Farrell’s guaranteed to be fired in the near term, or at all. Nevertheless, the Red Sox clubhouse is approaching disarray.

"“Some players, but not all, believe that (Farrell) does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say,” Rosenthal writes. “Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, but some more than others.”"

Should the Red Sox choose to depart from their manager of four years, there aren’t many readily available options. Former Red Sox bench coach and interim manager Terry Lovullo would have been the best fit to take over, however, he was given permission to interview for external positions by team president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks last the winter.

In-game management isn’t a new critique of Farrel, who has been oft-criticized for his questionable bullpen decisions. Overall, his deployment of the bullpen has been better this season – but he has garnered criticism for removing Chris Sale after eight shutout innings against the Blue Jays in favor of Craig Kimbrel, who allowed a tying home run in the ninth. Some fans even questioned his decision to remove Drew Pomeranz after just four innings despite a pitch count of 97 in Saturday’s 8-3 loss.

The other incident that has raised serious concerns over Farrell’s management of the club during the Red Sox’ prolonged feud with the Baltimore Orioles at the start of the month. After Matt Barnes threw at Manny Machado‘s head in retaliation for a questionable slide that the team took exception to, Dustin Pedroia was seen shouting “it wasn’t me” towards Machado. There’s no doubt that the way things between the O’s and Red Sox transpired presented a bad visual for Farrell’s control of his team.

While things seem to be deteriorating on a daily basis, the Red Sox are talented enough to turn a lot of the focus off of Farrell and his potential dismissal. An extended winning streak and subsequent position atop the division standings would surely erase any concerns with regard to his leadership.

Conversely, continued mediocrity could spell the end of his tenure in Boston. Dave Dombrowski has stood by Farrell for the entirety of his time at the helm of the team, but he’s proven to be a pragmatic operator, and if he believes the time has come he won’t resist making a change.

Next: Red Sox vs Rangers series preview

Given the intensity of the media’s focus, the Red Sox’ upcoming six-game homestand against the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners could be critical to the future direction of the team. If their games go the same way the four-game series in Oakland went, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Dombrowski do something to shake things up. If that means firing Farrell, Rosenthal believes he won’t shy away from such a decision.