It was announced earlier today that John Farrell will not be returning for the 2018 season. Farrell has had an inconsistent five seasons with the Red Sox that started with a World Series Championship and ended with two straight division titles. John Farrell lead the Sox to three Division Titles in 2013, 2016, 2017 and two last place finishes in 2014 and 2015. The Red Sox have had finished at 93-69 the last two seasons, both of which ended in disappointing ALDS losses. The big question is whether Farrell deserved to get canned after two first place finishes in a row, something the Red Sox have never done before. I also wonder how that same person survived two last place finishes in the years prior. While I believe that the manager does not have as much to do with team’s records as people seem to think, I do actually agree with the move. Unlike most I do not hate Farrell and I was not rooting for him to be fired, however now that the deed is done I’m starting to come around on the idea. Farrell is a below average game manager who never seems to light a fire and pump up his team. It is not Farrell’s fault that guys like Betts and Bogaerts had down years compared to last season. It is Farrell’s fault for not getting on Hanley Ramirez every once and a while because he is a guy that can rake when he is determined to. In the post-season Hanley hit .571 compared to his regular season average of .242. While the sample size is completely unfair, there are many examples this season of reporters calling him out which lead to weeks of production until he went back to his nonchalant self. I also blame Farrell for letting the Red Sox come out flat in the post-season in two consecutive years. He also does not seem to react to players making bad baserunning plays or any type of mental error at all. He has the “don’t worry about it, you’ll get him next time” mentality that should no longer be tolerated. Instead of fixing Benintendi’s baserunning blunders, he just labels it aggressive baserunning when approached by media. Overall the Red Sox just need a new vibe in the clubhouse, because they are too relaxed when they should be fired up and on a mission, that does not start down 0-2 in a five-game series.
Now that Farrell has been let go, we need to find a replacement that will not drive this team into the ground. The most common names floated around are: Brad Ausmus, Jason Varitek and Alex Cora. Brad Ausmus was hired by Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski in 2013 when he was the General Manager of the Tigers. The relationship between Dombrowski and Ausmus is there, but I firmly believe he is the worst option for the Sox going into the 2018 season. Ausmus seems to make head scratching decisions on a nightly basis and would have the fans outraged by May. Varitek has the potential to be a phenomenal manager in the future. He is a catcher that has lead his team to a World Series Championship on the field as the last Captain in history. Tek understands how to approach hitters and will know how to use his bullpen which is the most important part of a manager’s job. Lineups and pinch-hitting situations have analytics to back up decisions. Managing a bullpen takes more than numbers. Sadly, Dombrowski has stated that he wants a manager with experience, Tek has none. Although Varitek would be my top choice, Alex Cora will be the top managerial “free agent” according to most. Cora is currently the number two man for the Houston Astros and has drawn rave reviews. He is geared up to be the next Torey Lovullo no matter where he lands. Cora played for three seasons with Sox including in 2007 where he won a World Series in Boston. Alex Cora is the best fit and my top choice assuming Varitek has been taken out of consideration. One other name to look out for is Joe Madden’s right-hand man Dave Martinez who would fit in well in Boston and has plenty of coaching experience.