In a quick and decissive manner, John Farrell is out as Boston Red Sox Manager according to to President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. Just two days after a painful ALDS Game 4 defeat in which Farrell was tossed in the second inning arguing balls and strikes after Dustin Pedroia was wrung up, the Red Sox will begin their new search for a Manager immediately.
Farrell spent five seasons managing Boston taking over for Bobby Valentine following the 2012 season and led Boston to a World Series Championship in 2013. Farrell is the first manager in Red Sox history to win back-to-back division titles, but two swift first round exits and a poisonous clubhouse were enough for Dombrowski to axe his skipper and bring in his own guy to lead the team.
The Red Sox had the talent to win a title this season, but with injuries to star players like David Price and lack of performance in big spots, Boston went 1-6 in the postseason over the last two years after a last place finish in 2015. Boston saw bench coach Torey Lovullo depart for the desert where he would lead the team to an NL Wild Card game birth and victory before running into the juggernaut Dodgers. The Red Sox had themselves a great manager in the room, and let him walk away. Now just one short year later, begin their own search.
The Red Sox are still very much a team that can contend for a title in 2018, if they play their cards right. The first step is finding the right man to lead the room, manage the lineup and the bullpen, and win important games. The Red Sox need to add a veteran presence and power bat this off-season that can come in the form of Eric Hosmer or J.D. Martinez, but that’s a story for another time.
There are three candidates that jump off the chart to me right away for Boston. First up is fan-favorite and probably the least likely of the three to happen in Jason Varitek. Tek was the captain of the team during two World Series championships and has worked closely with this team over the years following his retirement as a special assistant to the GM. Highly regarded for his leadership and knowledge for the game, as well as interest in other franchises to interview Varitek as a potential manager would definitely cause his name to surface in relation to the vacancy.
I don’t expect Varitek to land the job for one reason, Dave Dombrowski likely wants to bring in his own guy from the outside to take over the room and completely change the dynamic of the organization. Brad Ausmus managed for Dombrowski in Detroit and is a logical fit as he is now looking for work. The former major league catcher spent the last four seasons in Detroit with a 314-332 record in large part due to the brutal season this year for the Tigers. Dombrowski hired Ausmus once, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did so again in Boston. Although I think Aumus’ one playoff appearance and losing record as well as clubhouse issues at times in Detroit could cause Dombrowski to go in a different direction.
The hot managerial candidate this off-season seems to be former Red Sox infielder and current Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora. The bright former big-leaguer is just 41-years-old and will have a ton of interest being linked to just about every vacancy in the majors. Cora won a World Series title in Boston, works well with young players and we’ve seem the fruit of his labor with the Astros first-hand in the ALDS. Cora checks all the boxes as a far as a leader and face of your operation and knows how to deal with the Boston market. Cora served as the General Manager for the Puerto Rico national team that went all the way to the WBC Final before losing to a one-of-a-kind U.S. national team.
Alex Cora makes the most sense to replace John Farrell as manager. I do believe Dave Dombrowksi goes outside the organization for a replacement which is why I don’t see bench coach Gary DiSarcina getting the nod or Varitek for that matter. Brad Ausmus has a chance due to his managerial experience and relationship with Dombrowski in Detroit. Either way, Boston needed a leadership change and the first step towards winning a championship took place today.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank