Few MLB teams deal with as much media scrutiny as the Boston Red Sox. The local club endured an early playoff exit for the second consecutive year on Monday, providing plenty of ammunition for criticism.
John Farrell seemed to be the primary target, with questions surrounding his future as Red Sox manager. Never mind that he’s won a World Series and captured three American League East titles in his five seasons with the club. In Boston, the championship or bust mantra is a reality.
As well, it wasn’t a good look that Farrell was ejected in the second inning of Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Houston Astros.
Here’s a look at what some writers are saying about the former Toronto Blue Jays skipper, who’s currently under contract for the 2018 season.
Boston Herald: Time has come for Red Sox to fire John Farrell
Steve Buckley of the Herald took a hard stance that Farrell’s tenure in Boston should come to an end. The columnist raised concerns about Farrell’s control of the Red Sox clubhouse and questioned the skipper’s decision to allow left-hander Chris Sale to begin the eighth inning of Monday’s loss to the Astros.
While it’s true Farrell’s resume will show him as a success in his five seasons as manager — three division titles and a World Series championship — it is also true that 2017 was yet another campaign of unfulfilled expectations.
It was also the season of the David Ortiz hangover. The Sox missed his bat, sure, but they also missed his clubhouse presence. The result: It became the sullen, insecure, finger-pointing David Price clubhouse. Not only was Farrell unable to do something about it, but he appeared also to endorse it with his line about how accountability is a two-way street, this after Price’s sorry Yankee Stadium temper tantrum in June.
Now it is John Farrell who must be held accountable.
NBC Sports Boston: Firing Farrell alone won’t fix Red Sox clubhouse problems
Evan Drellich examines both sides of the coin, highlighting reasons why it would be tough for team president Dave Dombrowski to fire Farrell, while also looking at Red Sox problems that run deeper than just the manager.
One player agent on Monday spoke of Farrell’s perceived shortcomings in grooming young leaders. It’s safe to say at this point that Farrell does not have the room fully behind him. Even the greatest conflict manager may not have been able to reach Price regarding the Eckersley dust-up.
Drellich also writes:
Some players will tell you the players govern themselves. Others in the game will say that the tone for everything really does start with the manager. Let’s assume it’s both. But the Sox’ room has two clearly emotional personalities who are considered leaders: Dustin Pedroia and David Price. … If you have Price and Pedroia trying to fight the world together, any manager may be at their mercy.
Yahoo Sports: Winter is coming for John Farrell, Red Sox
Jeff Passan touched on Farrell’s status in his game story and included some interesting quotes from key Red Sox figures.
Asked postgame if he expected to be back next season, Farrell demurred: “We just walked off the field 10 minutes ago.”
Asked if he would discuss Farrell’s status, team president Dave Dombrowski shook his head and told Yahoo Sports: “I have things to do.”
Asked if he thought Farrell should return next season, Dustin Pedroia, the closest thing the Red Sox have to a captain, answered: “I think John did a great job. We won the division. There was never any quit in this team. I’m proud of everybody in here. We dealt with a lot. And our fight continued every single day. I know we didn’t achieve our goals. But I’m proud of how everybody went about their business and showed up for everybody and played to win.”
Nowhere in that answer to a binary question was the word “Yes.”