Posted on October 11, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
When John Farrell got ejected from Game 4 of the ALDS, it turned out to be his last official act as manager of the Boston Red Sox. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Wednesday that Farrell will not return as the team’s manager in 2018. Farrell had one year left on his contract after spending the last five seasons as Boston’s manager, leading the team to three division titles and one World Series championship during that time.
“I thought it was the appropriate time to make a change for the betterment of the organization moving forward,” Dombrowski said. “You weigh a lot of different things to come into play. You watch day in, day out over a season. You come up with a decision based upon that. And for me, at this point, sometimes change can be better. That’s why we’ve decided to move forward with the change.”
While the move may seem unfair based on Farrell’s accomplishments in Boston, including a .533 win percentage and 11-10 record in the postseason, it was not unexpected after the Red Sox failed to advance past the ALDS the past two years. Farrell was also at the helm for a number of embarrassing episodes, including one this season in which David Price insulted Dennis Eckersley on the team’s plane. Events like that coupled with the team’s playoff shortcomings moved Dombrowski to make a change.
“It’s not a snap decision that says ‘Oh, we lost in the postseason.’ That is not by any means the case,” said Dombrowski. “The Houston Astros have a good club, so that’s not the reason. In my position, you’re always thinking about how you get better in every different facet, so it’s a thought process that takes place in everything you do.”
The search for a new Red Sox manager will begin right away. Dombrowski was not with the Red Sox when Farrell was hired, so this will be the first managerial hire he makes for the club. Brad Ausmus, the last manager Dombrowski hired while he was with the Detroit Tigers, is a name that is likely to be connected to the vacancy in Boston. Ausmus was let go by the Tigers following the season. But with Ausmus unable to win in Detroit the past few seasons, he could be a tough sell for Red Sox fans.
Current bench coach Gary DiSarcina, Astros bench coach Alex Cora, and former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek have also been mentioned as possible candidates. Prior to Farrell being fired, Dombrowski spoke of how difficult it is to manage a team in Boston compared to other markets.
“Managing is a tough job, period. I think it’s a tougher job here than maybe anywhere else,” Dombrowski said. “The scrutiny you receive — being in the game as long as I’ve been in the game, I’m amazed somewhat (by) the scrutiny aspect of it. And then when I look at the names behind (Farrell’s) desk, the number of pictures and how few guys have stayed a long time, it just shows you it’s a tough job.”
Whoever ends up being Boston’s new manager will be in a position to succeed right away. The Red Sox have a strong core of young position players, as well as a rotation that includes both Price and Chris Sale, as well as last year’s Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez. The future is no doubt bright for the Red Sox. But who will lead them into that future is now uncertain.