I’m still baffled by some of the choices that John Farrell has made recently. In the first game of the series with Chicago last week, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs. Here was a chance to overcome a deficit and win the game. What did Farrell do? Instead of inserting an experienced hitter, he put Ryan LaMarre in to pinch hit. Many fans like me scratched our heads as we tried to recall who LaMarre is. It disappointed me to see that LaMarre hadn’t even had an at-bat all season. Of course, the Red Sox blew the game. As the White Sox took the game in ten innings, all I could think was that John Farrell needs to go.
John Farrell’s only real highlight in his career is the 2013 World Series victory. 2014 and 2015 saw the Red Sox finish dead last in the American League East. Half way before finishing in the cellar for the second year straight, it became clear that the Red Sox didn’t have a problem with its players. Their problem was with its manager.
Half way during the 2015 season in August, Farrell was diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma. Farrell took a leave of absence and thankfully recovered. Bench coach Tory Lovullo took his place. Under Lovullo, the Red Sox scored 37 runs in their first two games and went on to record a .636 winning percentage through September. Farrell’s previous winning percentage of .439 paled in comparison. Owner John Henry should have known then that something was wrong. No one noticed that the bench coach increased the team’s victories by 20%? Also, Farrell continues to insert Clay Buchholz into the rotation. It’s clear that the right-hander is no longer an asset to the team (He’s 3-8 with a 5.90 ERA!). If this doesn’t signal that John Farrell needs to go I don’t know what does.
Right now, the Red Sox are like a bus with a few flat tires controlled by an oblivious driver who thinks that the tires will fix themselves. Not only is it time to change those tires (release Buchholz) but more importantly, it’s time to change drivers. With that said, John Farrell needs to go.
It’s early in the season, but the Red Sox are already showing signs that this season won’t be much different than the last two. Clay Buchholtz continues to struggle on the mound, the team fails to drive in crucial runs, and for the first time since I started attending Sox games in 2014, I’ve seen a visible drop in attendance. You could attribute it to the cold weather (45 degree temperatures make it hard to enjoy a game, especially at night), but it doesn’t help that the Sox are off to a challenging start. This idea leads me to ask whether the Red Sox should drop Farrell now and replace him with Torey Lovullo, who did much better managing the team last season. Personally, I think it’s time to drop Farrell.
Tory Lovullo took over as manager last season when Farrell was diagnosed with stage 1
lymphoma. The team went from performing sluggishly to scoring 37 runs in the first two games. Lovullo even had a .636 winning percentage through the end of September. This positive turn of events overshadowed the .439 winning percentage Farrell had before leaving for medical treatment. Farrell eventually returned to the team, taking the reigns back from Lovullo, who the Red Sox signed to a two-year contract to stay with the team as bench coach. Many saw this as an insurance move in the event that Farrell, God forbid, gets sick again.
Is it Time to Drop Farrell?
There’s another reason to drop Farrell from the Red Sox. Last June, after he was pulled from the game, Wade Miley got into a heated argument in the dugout with Farrell. Some saw this as Farrell’s inability to manage his team and retain their respect. Of course, players get angry and want to vent from time to time, but the fact that Miley blew up at Farrell is a sign that he’s not commanding the respect that managers deserve. While Miley is partly to blame for that incident, a stronger manager would have never tolerated that in the first place. On a larger level, it is a sign that tensions were, and probably still are, high in the clubhouse. If that’s the case, it needs to be defused by a change in management.
Maybe it’s still too early to tell, but at what point do you decide that it’s time for a change?
This past Friday, Red Sox manager John Farrell revealed he was diagnosed with Stage 1 Lymphoma, which sent the Red Sox organization into a state of shock. John Farrell told NESN that the doctors found the cancer during a hernia surgery, but he remains optimistic about the situation. According to NESN, it was found on Monday, and was deemed “highly curable,” which is great news for Farrell.
Whatever our complaints might have been about his managerial style, and I’m sure there were many, they have to be put aside for the time being. Farrell might have been struggling to get a hold on this team for the past season and a half, but one of the things you could say to his credit is that he is a genuinely nice guy.
The Red Sox promptly dropped 45 runs in their 3-game series against the Seattle Mariners after the news about their manager came out. They exploded for 15 in the first game, 22 in the second, then another 8 in a losing effort in an outburst that came out of nowhere. I just hope that this is a sign of things to come, as they try to finish this season strong for their manager.
As if this season wasn’t tough enough with the team’s struggles on the field, they’ll be without their manager for the forseeable future. Tory Lovullo will manage the team in the meantime, but the thoughts and prayers of Red Sox Nation—and the rest of baseball—are with John Farrell and his family as they try and pull through this. After the news came out, there was an outpouring of support from not only Red Sox Nation, but other clubs, players and managers around baseball. The Yankees organization and Blue Jays pitcher David Price, among others, tweeted out messages of support , while Bud Black described it as a “punch in the gut” according to Bleacher Report.
Get well soon, John.