Playoff defeat costs Farrell his job
John Farrell racked up a lot of wins and World Series title with the Boston Red Sox. But past success wasn’t enough to save his job after consecutive early playoff exits.
Boston fired Farrell on Wednesday after the team’s second straight loss in the AL Division Series.
The Red Sox announced the move less than 48 hours after they were eliminated from the World Series hunt with a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros. Farrell’s contract had been scheduled to run through the 2018 season.
Boston won back-to-back American League East titles for the first time in franchise history this season despite losing the bat of retired slugger David Ortiz. It also did it despite starting the season with $217 million pitcher David Price on the disabled list and watching as 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello stumbled to an 11-17 record.
“I thought it was the appropriate time to make a change for the betterment of the organization,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said.
Farrell managed the team to its eighth World Series title in 2013, his first season in charge of the club.
Farrell went 432-378 over five seasons with Boston. He began his coaching career with the Red Sox as a pitching coach from 20072010. Farrell also was part of the team’s 2007 World Series title. He began his major league managerial career with Toronto and went 154-170 over two seasons.
“Despite an end to this season that we all wanted to be different, I am proud of this ballclub and the resiliency shown,” Farrell said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “I have enjoyed every moment of this job its peaks and its valleys. There are few, if any, positions in life that create so much passion on a daily basis.”
He also thanked the organization for its support “through a challenging and scary period in my own life,” referring to when he was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015.
“I remain forever indebted,” Farrell said.
Dombrowski wouldn’t go into specifics on his thought process, but said “a lot of different factors” went into the decision to make the move. He said the team plans to move swiftly on its next hire and that the next manager would “most likely not” be a member of Farrell’s current coaching staff.
Dombrowski said it would be important to be comfortable in front of media and relatable to the team’s current young core.
Farrell leaves with a win total that ranks sixth in club history and he is second in postseason appearances (three) behind Terry Francona (five). He is also the only manager in club history to finish in first place in the division three times. Dombrowski said the baseline for success in Boston is different.
OTANI TO HAVE ANKLE SURGERY >> Japanese player Shohei Otani will have right ankle surgery on Thursday.
The reigning Pacific League MVP, in his fifth season with the Nippon Ham Fighters, is prized as both a pitcher and hitter. He is likely to leave Japan and sign with a Major League Baseball team through the posting system in the offseason.
The 23-year-old Otani initially injured his ankle while running the bases during the Japan Series last October, and ended up having to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic in March.
Otani says “I want to be in perfect condition for the new season.”
Otani played in only 65 games this season, batting .332 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. As a pitcher, he was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 29 strikeouts.