Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why Not John Farrell?

(I mean, other than the fact that I STILL have to think way too long to convince myself that his name really has two r’s and two l’s.)

The Red Sox announced yesterday that John Farrell and his entire coaching staff (assuming they’re willing) will be returning to the team next season. This announcement was met with far too much angst for my liking.

Why isn’t that good news?

John Farrell has been the manager here in Boston for four years, and he has won the division twice, and not won the division twice. Not exactly a terrible job by that metric. 

Ahh. But it’s those other two years that people are hung up on. The two years that the Red Sox didn’t finish first, they finished last. That’s unacceptable to some people. But, I think people are looking too much at rankings as opposed to results.

The person in the Hall of Fame with the fewest number of home runs, is still a Hall of Famer. Even though he ranks last. 

Yes, they were last. But, the Red Sox won 71 games in 2014 and 78 games in 2015. Neither of those win totals would have finished in last place in any division this year. In fact, the East was the only division those totals ranked last in those years. So, we're not exactly talking about the 1962 Mets here. 

If we ignore the "last" place finishes, it comes down to whether or not he's been a good manager. The problem with that analysis, is that every manager makes mistakes. Every manager has that moment where you don't bring your closer into a tie game and it bites you. Every manager has a pinch hitter who strikes out, or doesn't pinch hit for a guy who grounds into a double play. So, generally, does John Farrell make well thought out decisions?

I think he does. I think a vast majority of his decisions are at least defensible once you have all the info. Once you realize that a certain reliever was unavailable. Or needed extra work. Or a batter was feeling rusty and needed to get some action. Insider information like that usually makes a curious decision make a lot more sense.

So, I'm glad the Sox brought him back. They players seem to like him. I don't think he makes many wrong decisions. And, in two of the three years they tried...his team won the division.

Now, just need that second title.

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