What if I were to tell you a manager with a career .496 winning percentage in the Major Leagues over 4 seasons and coming off a season, in which his club finished last in the division, was in the works for a contract extension. Would you think I was crazy or what? Well I’m not because the Red Sox are looking to extend manager John Farrell’s contract as preliminary talks begin.
Initially, the word that comes to mind is premature. Farrell is a good manager, but to win the World Series it took David Ortiz to perform out of this world and the Red Sox pitching to be spot on. Without a clear number one heading into this season, you’d like to see Cherington focus more on the roster and less on ass-kissing Farrell with a new contract.
Farrell is of course heading into the final year of his deal and a decision would need to be made sooner or later, but I’m a fan of the later when dealing with a manager. Farrell still has something to prove in Boston as his game management isn’t exactly top notch. We saw him over-manipulate his lineup at times last season unnecessarily and over-manipulate it other times. His pulse on the team was one of the many reasons the Red Sox went from first to worst in one season.
If the Red Sox hadn’t fallen so far out of contention by the trade deadline, it’s easy to imagine they wouldn’t have been sellers. Would Lester have walked if he weren’t traded to begin with and gotten used to being away from Boston? Players got fat and happy, the younger players didn’t develop well enough under Farrell in the Majors and both of those fall on the manager.
I may sound pessimistic about the possible extension, but I’m not opposed to extending him. I just don’t see the harm in letting Farrell sweat it out. A contract situation being a little uncomfortable never hurt the Red Sox when it came to David Ortiz. In fact, it often works like that in any sport. There’s a tendency to get lazy when signed long term. Contract years are the best value for a team because that player/manager/coach is working for that next deal.
I like John Farrell, but combined managing stints in Toronto and Boston have him being a .496 manager and making the playoffs just once. I would have waited.