By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
It’s been a typical season for the Henry-Dombrowski-Farrell era. Full of ups and downs, from one extreme to the other. The Red Sox are in first place, and arguably a top one or two team in the American League.
John Farrell remains very unpopular with fans, many of whom wanted him fired last off season when the Red Sox were embarrassingly swept in the ALDS by a Cleveland team, who looked too ill equipped to handle a post season run. From my own polls, around 70% of Red Sox fans have little confidence in John Farrell.
A classic example took place last Sunday when Farrell attempted to remove Addison Reed, his setup man, in the middle of the count. Not only is this a bad look for Farrell, since such a move shows the entire team and fan base he has no confidence in his talented reliever. It got even more embarrassing when the umpires disallowed the pitching change to take place due to the fact a mound visit had already taken place. A dumbfounded Farrell took the walk of shame back to the dugout and waited for the at-bat to conclude. It was another defining moment for a manager who is unfit to handle his pitching staff, and keep up with the flow of the game. Kimbrel no doubt should have been ready to enter the game before Ellsbury entered the batter’s box.
The reality of Farrell’s status is that he won’t likely enter next season in the final year of his contract as a “Lame Duck” manager. That seldom ever happens. So one of two things will happen: 1. He gets a 2-3 year contract extension. 2. He gets fired. It will be either one or the other.
If the Red Sox win their ALDS series against whom ever it may be, followed by a competitive performance in the ALCS at the VERY least, it’s conceivable to believe Farrell will in fact get a contract extention. If they get tossed out in the ALDS, even if it goes five games, it’s almost a given that Farrell will be fired. Esspecially considering the fact that Dombrowski made a ton of trades to give the Red Sox their best chance to win a World Series since 2013.
Another scenario to consider, is that barring a World Series win, Farrell could be fired no matter what. Reason being that this organization has suffered several public relations disasters this season under Farrell’s watch in 2017 alone. It all started out with the Barnes/Machado/Pedroia controversy from an Orioles series this spring. David Price had two blow ups with Evan Drellich and Dennis Eckersley, the latter of which made national news and was a TERRIBLE look for the team, and it’s perceived leadership. Farrell also came under intense scrutiny for his usage of Craig Kimbrel which allegedly resulted in a confrontation between Farrell and his coaching staff. Farrell’s credibility came into question when he was pressed by the media about that incident. Most notably an extremely awkward interview by WEEI.
This 2017 season nearly exceeds the P.R. drama of the Bobby Valentine season in 2012. It was been widely speculated through the Boston media whether or not Farrell has lost this clubhouse as Valentine did. Not to mention dozens instances in the last few years of on-field blunders.
As stated above, many fans were stunned when Farrell was allowed to remain at the helm following 2016. Especially since Dave Dombrowski was initially non-committal just one year earlier over whether or not Farrell would be the manager in 2016. Once that season unfolded and Dombrowski made the decision to keep Farrell for yet ANOTHER season in 2017, it became very apparent to me that he was simply keeping him as an insurance policy. Dombrowski needs the fan base to hate another prominent figure on this team more than him, which is obviously John Farrell. This is designed so that when the pressure finally does get turned up on Dombrowski, he can then turnaround, hit the reset button, and fire Farrell to buy himself more time with a fresher slate. That’s the only thing that makes sense as to why Farrell is still here.
Dombrowski’s job is obviously safe no matter what happens to the Red Sox in 2017. If we suffer a similar collapse and miss the playoffs like what happened in 2011 (albeit very unlikely), he would still keep his job. If the Red Sox flounder again in October like they did a year ago, and Dombrowski STILL keeps Farrell, they BOTH would likely be fired at the end of 2018 should that season not go well. Especially with all the moves that were made as outlined above. Not to mention Dombrowski was ordered by John Henry before this year’s trade deadline that he may not trade anymore top prospects from our badly depleted farm.
So with all things considered, this will very likely be the final season John Farrell manages the Boston Red Sox. Dombrowski’s insurance policy on him expires the first week of November. Only a World Series Parade can renew it. And unfortunately for all of us, it would defy nearly all logic if I told any of you that the 2017 World Series parade will take place in any city but Los Angeles. They’re just too damn good.
Farrell will likely go on a blind date following this season, and it’s gonna be with the Fat Lady.