The Boston Red Sox fired manager John Farrell today after a five-year stint with the team. Seeing the Red Sox fire Farrell comes with mixed emotions from Red Sox Nation.Some fans credit him with the three AL East Divisions the Red Sox win during his tenure. Others, however, point to his last-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. Then there were the early exits from the playoffs this and last year. While Red Sox Nation reacted with mixed emotions to Farrell’s departure, those same fans rejoiced when they learned Jason Varitek reportedly wants to come aboard as the new manager.
According to NESN.com, Varitek has expressed his interest in managing the Red Sox. “Having been a part of the front office and having the ability to still get on the field everywhere that I go, I know I have more impact on the field,” Varitek was quoted as saying in the article. It goes without saying that hiring him would come as a very welcoming move. Varitek, a Red Sox Hall of Famer, was a tenacious Red Sox catcher and on-field leader. His spar with Alex Rodriguez in 2004 is immortalized throughout Boston. He is widely popular throughout New England. In fact, hiring Varitek would be enough to erase the frustrations most fans have in the wake of Farrell’s termination.
The Red Sox Fire Farrell After Five Rollercoaster Seasons
The Red Sox almost fired Farrell in 2015 but his cancer diagnosis likely kept the team from doing so. Regardless, while the Red Sox went on to win the AL East Division in 2016 and 2017, many in Red Sox Nation noticed that the team didn’t play with the zeal seen during the 2013 season. Many of the players have questioned Farrell’s leadership ability in recent months. Other fans have often wondered what Farrell was thinking when he’d start a weak pitcher, or send in an inexperienced hitter to pinch hit. These issues culminated in Farrell’s eventual termination. Personally, I think it’s a smart move. The Red Sox have been a boring team to watch for the last few years, and I think that had a lot to do with the fact that the players aren’t playing with the same enthusiasm that players in Chicago, LA, and Washington play with. Farrell wasn’t an inspiring manager.
Seeing the Red Sox fire Farrell opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for his replacement. Some say Hall of Famer Tony Larussa might come out of retirement and take over. Others say the Red Sox might take a chance on Brad Ausmus, who was recently fired by the Detroit Tigers. But Varitek? Most in Red Sox Nation wouldn’t have a problem with that. He’s fierce, competitive, and he certainly would make watching the Red Sox a lot more interesting.
I say go for it!
The Red Sox captured first place this summer and have hardly let go since. While the Yankees nip at their heels, Chris Sale’s arm and the rookies’ bats keep the Bronx Bombers at bay. On top of that, the Red Sox are creeping closer to finding a groove in a post-Ortiz world. But despite their recent stretch of wins, can the Red Sox reach the post season?
Their Pitching Is (Almost) There
The Red Sox are definitely getting their money out of Chris Sale. He’s leading the AL in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. He also pitches a fast game, which counts for a lot in an era where games last 3+ hours. Eduardo Rodriguez is almost healthy enough to begin carrying wins of his own. While he’s still young, his ability to accumulate seven or eight strikeouts a game is often overlooked. Drew Pomeranz came out of nowhere this year after a terrible debut season and already has double-digit wins. Joe Kelly can throw 100 MPH and serves as a good middle reliever. Craig Kimbrel always saves the game. David Price and Rick Porcello though? One’s a hot-head and the other is trying to stave off joining the 20-losses in a season club.
Their Rookies and Newcomers Will Help The Red Sox Reach The Post Season
Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers quickly dispelled any concerns they weren’t ready for the big leagues when they came up. Benintendi is a solid offensive as well as defensive guy. Devers is hitting home runs left and right. Eduardo Nunez seems to love playing in Boston. Even the veteran journeyman Chris Young can still make opposing pitchers shake in fear. Dustin Pedroia isn’t 100% (and may never be again) and Hanley Ramirez can’t quite lift his batting avert above .275. Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. still command the outfield as well as they can hit home runs. So will all this be enough to reach the post-season?
The Red Sox rookies are posting some amazing debut numbers! Rookies Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and veteran newcomer Eduardo Nunez are tearing up the American League. The arrival of the first two concerned people who thought they came too soon. While many of the Red Sox are on the disabled list or slumping at the plate, these Red Sox rookies are on fire.
Andrew Benintendi came up late in the 2016 season straight from Portland. He bypassed AAA and quickly proved that he belonged in the MLB. He hasn’t left since. Benintendi hit .295 in 34 games with the Red Sox in 2016, including a home run in the ALDS against the Indians. He earned a place in left field too with his above average defensive skills. He’s also on pace for a 20+ home run season and should received the Rookie of the Year Award.
Rafael Devers has only played fifteen games as of August 15rd but he’s hitting .339 in 64 plate appearances, nothing to shrug off. He also hit six home runs in those fifteen games. On August 13th, Devers hit a home run that came in at 102.8 miles per hour off Aroldis Chapman. According to Statcast, Devers hit the fastest pitch-turned-home run recorded since experts started tracking such statistics in 2008. That’s impressive for anyone. For a 20-year old rookie though? It’s nothing short of amazing.
Veterans Add Their Own Clout Alongside Red Sox Rookies
Eduardo Nunez, who came to the Red Sox from the San Francisco Giants, contributes years of skill to Red Sox offense. A 2016 All-Star, Nunez comes as a boon to the Red Sox. In 68 plate appearances as of August 14th, Nunez has a .382 average with four home runs.
The Red Sox won’t reach the playoffs because of regular players. Dustin Pedroia or Hanley Ramirez will play a role but not a big one. That accolade should go to the these newcomers and acquired veterans.
Before the All-Star break, many thought Aaron Judge would coast to MVP and Rookie of the Year trophies. He broke Joe DiMaggio’s rookie home run record in just 82 days. He won the All-Star Home Run Derby. But then the All-Star break came and went. Now As of August 12th, Judge has a .182 average with only five home runs since the break. At this point it’s difficult to name him the Rookie of the Year. That’s why the powers that be should name Andrew Benintendi the American League Rookie of the Year.
Benintendi has maintained his pace of play all season and is only getting better. He blasted two home runs against the New York Yankees on August 12th. He also hit two home runs against the Texas Rangers on July 4th in a 5-for-5 day at the plate with with 6 RBI and double. That game ended in a 11-4 victory for the Red Sox. These numbers, while not as strong as Judge’s, still support the argument that he should be the Rookie of the Year.
Name Andrew Benintendi Alongside Fred Lynn As Two Rookie Greats
It’s hard for any die-hard Red Sox fan not to think of Fred Lynn when they watch Benintendi. Lynn had a MVP and Rookie of the Year-winning season in 1975 that also included a Gold Glove and All-Star appearance. Not to mention the Red Sox went onto the World Series that year.
But here’s why they should name Andrew Benintendi the Rookie of the Year. He’s maintained a consistent pace this year and it’s helped keep the Red Sox in first place. There isn’t much of a correlation between Aaron Judge’s hitting and the Yankees place in the AL East. The Yankees fell out of first long before Judge’s slump. But there’s been much more consistency with Benintendi. He’s also an amazing outfielder and base runner.
Judge isn’t going to recover from his slump anytime soon. Not to mention it would be very awkward if Judge for the RoY award after such a poor post-All-Star break. So name Andrew Benintendi the Rookie of the Year as he is the more deserving player.
The Red Sox winning streak of six games is debunking the idea that the team is still struggling from David Ortiz’s absence. Not only has the Price/Eckersley hoopla finally died down, but their rookies are coming alive too. This Red Sox winning streak is a sign that Boston will surely contend for the World Series title come October.
Rookies Contributing To Red Sox Winning Streak
The Red Sox struggled after the All-Star break and briefly relinquished first place to the Yankees. Then a sweep of the Indians and White Sox not only moved them back into first place, but it also gave its rookie stars the attention they deserve. Between August 1st and 8th, Andrew Benintendi hit .462 with a home run effectively breaking out of his slump. Raphael Devers is hitting .349 in 49 plate appearances with three home runs as of August 7th. That comes after hitting 20 home runs in 86 games in AA and AAA this year.
Veterans Also Contributing To Red Sox Winning Streak
MLB veterans like Chris Young and Eduardo Nunez also showed Red Sox Nation that they still have plenty of steam left to help win. Young slammed two home runs, including a tie-breaking shot in addition to driving in five ribbies against the White Sox on Sunday. Nunez, a late season addition to the Red Sox, has 4 home runs with a .400 batting average in the nine games he’s played with Boston so far. These two play with a zeal that clearly reflects their love for the game.
The Red Sox rookies and veterans are playing baseball like kids on sandlot do. They’re eager to contribute. They play to win. And they know they can reach the World Series. Some say the remaining problem lies with its other veterans. Hanley Ramirez hits for power but not average. Dustin Pedroia landed on the DL again, as did David Price. If these three can capture some of the same enthusiasm as their younger and older teammates, the Red Sox will be unstoppable come October.
Earlier last week I wrote that Dustin Pedroia is nothing more than a diva. He talks a big game but doesn’t offer much in terms of leadership. Writers like me took issue with Pedroia for several reasons. The Red Sox are leaderless right now without David Ortiz. Pedroia isn’t the player he was in 2007. The Red Sox may or may not reach the World Series. All these factors led to writers like me to find someone to blame. Since we can only blame John Farrell so much, we started focusing on Pedroia. As Dustin Pedroia faces scrutiny, the media, me included, should take a step back and think more about what his real role is and the positive attributes he brings to the team.
Dustin Pedroia Faces Scrutiny For Drama He Didn’t Start
It’s easy to forget how much pressure Pedroia is under right now. He’s the senior player on the team. He plays his heart out. Injuries plague him more often than not. Then there was the petty drama that he didn’t start. Pedroia shook off the idea that Manny Machado deliberately slid into him during an April series in Baltimore. But then both teams decided to escalate the issue by beaning each other’s batters in separate games. Whether Pedroia intended to distance himself from Matt Barnes is unclear, but it certainly wasn’t an issue Pedroia escalated on purpose.
Pedroia Didn’t Ask To Get Caught Up In The Price/Eckersley Drama Either
Details about what happened between David Price and Dennis Eckersley continue to be vague and conflicting. We know Price took issue with Eckersley’s opinions. For a while though it seemed like Pedroia egged Price on as he insulted Eckersley on the team airplane. Given his lack of pursuit of drama, Pedroia unlikely exacerbated the incident. In fact, given his role on the team past and present, I’m more likely to believe the reports that Pedroia intervened in a positive way. Pedroia allegedly tried to mediate a more peaceful approach to resolving the issue. Although reports state that neither party wants to meet anymore, it’s more likely that Pedroia tried to act more like a teammate than an instigator.
With this said, writers like me need to take a step back and think twice about the rumors and out-of-context reports were often hear. Sensationalist headlines are interesting and fun to write about, but they run contradictory to our mission to support the Red Sox. This is especially true when we don’t have all the facts.