Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski met the press to explain the club’s firing of John Farrell this morning and basically refused to explain it.
Oh, he offered a lot of management speak about it being “time for a change” and the need for the team to “get better” but he did not give any specific reason for Farrell’s 2018 option not getting picked up. Indeed, he specifically said he was not going to provide any specific reason and that he’d keep those to himself.
But he went even further, saying that there was no way Farrell was going to keep his job, even if the Red Sox had beaten the Astros in the ALDS, swept the ALCS and won the dang World Series:
Dombrowski said Farrell was fired for reasons he won't disclose and that no level of team success would have prevented that.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) October 11, 2017
NO level? Really? That seems odd. Then again, this is a team that fired its most successful manager in franchise history because a couple of pitchers decided to have some beer and fried chicken, so never underestimate the Red Sox front office’s dedication to its own ends, however divorced from on-field baseball success it may appear to outside observers. Dombrowski is relatively new to Boston, but he answers to most of the same guys who thought Bobby Valentine was the right choice for this team in 2012.
To be sure, one could make a reasonable case for Farrell to be let go. The young bats the club counted on this season took a step back. Farrell may not have been able to do anything about that, but managers are often fired for that sort of regression of young talent. There was also some discord in the Sox’ clubhouse this year. Dustin Pedroia took another team’s side in a beanball war with the Orioles early in the season, and that’s not the sort of thing one tends to see. David Price mounted a personal vendetta against a broadcaster. There was that Apple Watch sign-stealing thing. Stuff happened. While Farrell has never been a bad manager, he’s not some sort of singular talent either, so replacing him is not, ultimately, a huge deal.
Still, Dombrowski’s cagey approach to this news has to have Red Sox fans scratching their heads. Or maybe just nodding their heads as, perhaps, they are just used to this sort of stuff by now. I’m still fascinated by Red Sox Kremlinology, but maybe people in Boston are just resigned to it.
Whatever the case, this is Boston, so I’m sure a lot more will trickle out about all of this in the coming days. Folks close to the front office doing the usual “throw the guy whose leaving under the bus” stuff and others carrying the water of people close to Farrell or who otherwise opposed to his departure.
All for a club that is the two-time defending AL East champs and has a core of young players most teams would kill to have.