Red Sox manager John Farrell will return for the 2017 season per an announcement from the team’s president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
At 93-69, having just won the division, this news from the Red Sox seems somewhat non-revelatory. However, Farrell’s job was in jeopardy throughout the 2016 season, and getting swept by Cleveland in the ALDS couldn’t have helped.
Near the end of June—just four months ago—ESPN ran a poll asking fans whether Farrell should be dismissed.
“The offense, which led the majors in averaging nearly six runs per game in April and May, has averaged about a run per game less in June. And the pitching staff, not a strength to begin with, is in shambles. Its 5.02 ERA in June is nearly a run per game worse than it was the first two months of the season and is tied for the third-worst in the American League for the month.”
With more than 14,000 responses since running the poll, 52 percent chose ‘yes,’ that Farrell should be fired. Through the remainder of the season though, the Red Sox went 51-33 and clinched their first playoff berth since 2013—Farrell’s debut season with the team that resulted in a World Series title.
Since re-joining the Red Sox as manager, Farrell has a win-loss record of 339-309. Prior to that, he was the manager for the division-rival Blue Jays and, before that, he was the pitching coach for the Red Sox under now-Cleveland skipper Terry Francona.
In his press conference, Dombrowski was non-committal beyond this season, declining to mention whether or not the Red Sox would be picking up Farrell’s 2018 contract option. Some believe that Farrell isn’t a very competitive tactical manager, and Eric Wilbur of Boston.com suggests seeing him up against his old colleague Francona in the ALDS only drove that point home.
“Farrell’s decision to lift Benintendi for Young was the most-debated move in Game 165, particularly with a struggling Bradley to come down the line. Seeing how Benintendi struggled against Miller in Game 1, the move made some sense. Seeing how Bradley struggled against anyone with a ball in his hand 60 feet away, it was dubious at best.”
While some of the Red Sox’s woes cannot be attributed to Farrell, his decision to go with Clay Buchholz in an elimination game over Eduardo Rodriguez was also somewhat puzzling, despite Buchholz’s late season heroics. Regardless, Farrell’s job is safe for now as the Red Sox manager, and will only be revisited by the media if and when the team falters during the 2017 season.