Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has had a tumultuous last bunch of months.
It all started when high expectations were missed throughout his time as manager of the Sox from April to mid-August. High-paid acquisitions were not performing up to the standards of the money they were being paid. Starting pitchers and relievers were giving up too many runs, and the offense wasn’t helping much either.
With a .439 winning percentage up to mid-August, Farrell’s leadership was becoming heavily questioned.
And then he got lymphoma, and had to take a leave of absence from the team for the rest of the disappointing campaign that was 2015.
He then watched interim manager Torey Lovullo step up and lead the team to a .636 winning percentage for the last month and a half — a pace that would have had the Sox in first place if they’d had that pace for the entire season.
When the season was over, the Red Sox announced that John Farrell would be the manager going into 2016.
But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
In Farrell’s three years with the team (2013-2015) he’s 221-222 with one postseason appearance and one World Series title.
That World Series has landed Farrell a contract extension and lots of job security for a manager with a sub-.500 record during his tenure.
The Red Sox have high hopes for this year, just like they did in 2014 and 2015, and Farrell failed to have the team meet expectations in both of those years. With big-money free agent David Price now headlining the starting pitching staff, shutdown closer Craig Kimbrel holding down the back of the bullpen, and success-hungry Dave Dombrowski leading the front office, there is a lot of potential and a lot of pressure that will be spreading through the clubhouse.
It’s Farrell’s job to get the most out of his guys to meet those expectations and play under the pressure that will be put on a team that has made the postseason only once in the past six years.
Questions also pepper the team.
Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are at the forefront: with weight issues and supposed dedication issues, can both have huge bounce back seasons and prove that they are worth the money? Can Hanley play first base and will he commit to it?
The catching situation is also a big question mark in how Farrell will handle having the offense of Blake Swihart, the veteran presence of Ryan Hanigan, and the strong-armed, defensive-minded Christian Vazquez who is fresh off of Tommy John surgery. Particularly both Swihart and Vazquez deserve to play, but as we all know only one catcher can be in the lineup at a time.
With all of these additions and questions, there’s no question that Farrell has a lot to manage. And with his bad past two seasons, there’s no question that even with the contract extension that has him managing through 2017, his leash will still be at its shortest.
Don’t think Dombrowksi will hesitate to fire Farrell once this ship starts to go south, because this team needs to win and they need to win now and for as many seasons as they can.
They need it and so does this fan base. If firing Farrell helps the team achieve winning ways, then they must do it.