Red Sox: Time for an exodus of manager John Farrell
By Rick McNair
Being a good manager does not necessarily mean being the right manager. Farrell has kept the clubhouse relatively clean from discord, but occasionally nuggets do surface such as comments by Ken Rosenthal as described in this linked article. This is nothing that has suddenly been a eureka moment in baseball since managers routinely endure, but this is centered upon the clubhouse and possibly disenchantment among the millionaires who reside there.
When a manager loses the team he loses his job. In game, managerial blunders can often be overlooked unless they are blatant, such as one memorable one in 2003. Farrell does not – from my prejudicial perspective – qualify as a formidable strategist. I am sure an extensive laundry list – usually via hindsight – can be developed under the title of “Why did he do that?”
One critique of Farrell – a former pitcher – is how he handles the staff. I am not quite sure how to define “handle.” Is it the assigned roles within the pitching food chain? Keeping the fragile psyche of pitchers informed? Making the proper moves? Anyways – despite losing Steven Wright, David Price, Carson Smith, and Tyler Thornburg, Farrell has managed to keep Boston among the top pitching staffs in the league. I will certainly take that. So – maybe he is just fine?
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The Red Sox offense is staggering around and compared to their history this is epic. You have to go back 20+ years, but it is not over – yet. The “Killer B’s” have been somewhat neutered. Mookie Betts is well under .300, Benintendi will not be Rookie of the Year, Jackie Bradley is back to being a .225 hitter and Xander Bogaerts has morphed into “Mr. Singles.” What did Dave Dombrowski do about replacing you know who? Mitch Moreland?
The real note of concerns is the fundamentals as this team seems to make far too many mental mistakes. That was absent last year, but this season it seems to happen on a daily basis – cutoffs went astray, poor base running, questionable fielding and to go all Seinfeld – Yada, Yada, Yada.
Farrell takes the fall for inept play and underachieving. Simple as that. Farrell is not blameless and the anti-Farrell groupies have been magnifying every baseball faux pas in his managerial toolbox. Some justified and, alas, some certainly not.
What I do know is something needs to be done – we could have had Torey Lovullo – but that ship is now sailing in the desert. Generally, a change is a no great motivator, but there are plenty of exceptions, such as Joe Morgan and “Morgan Magic.” So who gets under the microscope if Farrell is dismissed?