The Red Sox announced today that John Farrell would not return to his managerial duties in 2018 in a unique scenario in that this news is both surprising and unsurprising. Much like the manager’s 5-year stint at the helm, it is unclear how to feel about the job he did as manager. When he took over at the start of the 2013 season, the Red Sox were coming off a disastrous 2012 campaign where they went 69-93 under Bobby Valentine. The Red Sox then went 97-65 in 2013 and won the World Series, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in 6 games. This is where it gets weird. They follow up a World Series title with basically the same roster and go 71-91 in the second worst title defense of all time (the 1998 Marlins went 54-108. That won’t get topped). 2015 was also a bad year in which the team went 78-84, however they went 28-22 under Torey Lovullo when Farrell was diagnosed with Leukemia. Farrell was able to make a full recovery and returned in 2016, leading the Red Sox to a 93-69 record with the highest scoring offense in baseball. This past season, the offense took a big dip, as they scored nearly 100 fewer runs this season than last, however the pitching took a big step forward. They finished with an identical 93-69 record to the year prior, both of which included division titles and early playoff exits. So with that in mind, let’s look at Farrell’s achievements while Manager of the Red Sox:
Record: 432-378 (sixth most in franchise history)
2013 World Series championship
2013, 2016, 2017 AL East Champions (most division titles in franchise history)
3 first place finishes in the AL East, 2 last place finishes
Overall I would deem Farrell’s five year tenure with the Red Sox a successful one despite some of the questionable decisions he’s made. He had several tremendous accomplishments but there’s also the two last place finishes sandwiched between those winning teams that are hard to overlook.
So who do the Red Sox turn to? Here are a list of some names that could receive a phone call from Dave Dombrowski:
Gene Lamont– Lamont was the Tigers’ third base coach when Dombrowski was there and when the Red Sox were looking for a new manager for the 2012 season, most of the front office wanted him, however they were overruled by Larry Lucchino, who wanted Valentine. Lucchino is no longer in the fold and Lamont is currently the Tigers’ bench coach and has prior managerial experience with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1997-2000.
Brad Ausmus– Ausmus was a guy that Dave Dombrowski hired in Detroit and since his departure, the Tigers’ record has suffered and Ausmus was fired at the end of the season. Ausmus had a similar tenure to Farrell’s, winning the AL central his first year, finishing last in his second, finishing second in his third, and finishing last this past year. The Tigers’ 64-98 record was the worst in the American League this season.
Ron Gardenhire– Gardenhire had a lot of success as manager of the Minnesota Twins from 2002-2014. Although he never reached a World Series, Gardenhire never really had the talent that he would have in Boston, considering Minnesota is a much smaller market.
Don Mattingly*-Mattingly is a part of this too, as the Marlins are under new ownership (which includes Derek Jeter) and they may look to remove him and hire their own guy. Mattingly has had success as the manager of both the Dodgers and Marlins, though he has yet to make the playoffs in Miami.
Joe Girardi*-Yes, I am including Joe Girardi, the current Yankees skipper in this list. There has been speculation that Girardi may be on his way out in New York, despite the team’s success this season and depending on how a potential exit goes, he may find himself looking for a new job. And what better way for the 2009 World Series champion to get back at his old team than to sign with the enemy?
*-currently managing another team as of this writing
Personally, I would want Gardenhire, but I think Lamont ought to be the favorite, given his popularity with both ownership and Dombrowski himself.