John Farrell’s Complicated History
Red Sox manager John Farrell has had fluctuating performances during his Boston tenure. After being the team’s pitching coach from 2006-2010, Farrell managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 and 2012. When the Bobby Valentine experiement failed, he returned to Boston.
His first year saw a World Series victory over the Cardinals in 2013. But that was followed by a pair of last place finishes, which prompted some to question his ability to manage. Then, unfortunately, Farrell was diagnosed with lymphoma in late 2015. Following the diagnosis, bench coach Torey Lovullo led the team to a succesful season’s end. Ultimately, this led to Farrell being put on the hotseat even more, despite his current condition.
After the acquisition of David Price in the offseason, and the emergence of Rick Porcello as an ace, the Red Sox won the division in 2016 primariliy because of consistent pitching. This helped John Farrell’s case for continuing as manager, as he already had signed an extension in 2016.
But is John Farrell a good manager?
Many will cite his occasional gaff in a National League game or his usage of Craig Kimbrel in non-save situations. But I would counter with his ability to keep the teem afloat this season amidst the injuries, rainouts, flu epidemic, and berevement/paternity leaves.
Sure, it’s a small sample size, but it’s still impressive. On this homestand alone, the Red Sox played the defending World Series champions, as well as the two teams ahead of them in the AL East standings.
Personally, I like John Farrell as manager.
Does the post-game corporate-speak sometimes bother me? Sure.
But do I appreciate his sense of accountability when the team his underperforming? Absolutely.
However, I like him mainly because the players respect him. He doesn’t let sour grapes infect the clubhouse. You know what you’re going to get. Plain and simple. He lets guys like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts learn and grow up. He lets guys like Chili Davis and Brian Butterfield have some autonomy.
Even if the Red Sox wanted to replace him, could they find a viable candidate? Torey Lovullo, who I also liked, is now in Arizona. The Red Sox would need to either find someone in the organization they saw as qualified or look elsewhere. My outlook is, if there’s a former manager available, there’s probably a good reason why.
Cue Bobby Valentine.