Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s decision to dismiss manager John Farrell earlier today wasn’t entirely unexpected, though like any managerial firing, it’ll lead to a wide swath of questions in the coming weeks as Boston seeks to hire a new skipper. As Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes, Dombrowski said Wednesday that his priority will be to hire a replacement that has previous experience as a manager or a Major League coach.
“Being in a dugout during a game and seeing what the manager encounters is probably helpful,” Dombrowski told reporters. “I do think it would be difficult for a person more so [in Boston] than in some other places to walk directly onto the field without some on-field managerial experience at some level or big league coaching.”
That, as Abraham points out, likely crosses off fan-favorite suggestion Jason Varitek — the former Red Sox catcher who has been working as a special assistant to Dombrowski in the team’s front office. Varitek has been an oft-speculated managerial candidate in past years, but he’s yet to get his feet wet as a coach in either the Majors or the minors.
Names of potential candidates should emerge over the next week or two, though Abraham and a few other reporters have made some initial suggestions. Abraham lists bench coaches Alex Cora (Astros) and Ron Gardenhire (D-backs) as well as recently dismissed Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus as possibilities. Gardenhire, of course, spent more than a decade managing the Twins while Dombrowski was GM over the AL Central rival Tigers, and it was Dombrowski who originally hired Ausmus as the skipper in Detroit. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has also suggested that Gardenhire could emerge as a candidate, while ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that Cora could get strong consideration as well. Meanwhile, CSN New England’s Evan Drellich tweets that Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens could get consideration as well.
Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald also lists Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren as names to watch. Current bench coach Gary DiSarcina may seem a natural candidate, though he notes that Farrell suggested that an in-house option may not be in consideration. “At this point, successor from the staff, I don’t really know,” said Dombrowski. “…I’d say most likely not, but I’m not going to say for sure not.”
As to the reasons that Farrell was ultimately dismissed, Abraham details a number of instances of Farrell’s communication with his players deteriorating. Abraham reports that Dombrowski and Farrell strongly disagreed with how the team handled Manny Machado’s controversial slide into Dustin Pedroia earlier this year. Farrell’s claims that he was in the dark during the ridiculous Apple Watch scandal also reflected poorly on him, and the drama between David Price and commentator Dennis Eckersley also suggested further lack of communication between Farrell and the clubhouse, Abraham writes.
If there’s any bad blood between Farrell and the organization, he certainly didn’t air his grievances to the public. In a statement released via the Red Sox communications department, Farrell spoke warmly and gratefully about his time in Boston:
Despite an end to this season that we all wanted to be different, I am proud of this ball club and the resiliency shown. 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.
I am grateful to an ownership group that gave me such a unique opportunity, and one that shared my desire to bring World Series championships to this great city. They supported me through a challenging and scary period in my own life, and I remain forever indebted.
I am grateful to two front office groups that worked tirelessly to provide me with the players that could consistently match up with the very best in the game. Their time and resources made my job so much easier and fulfilling.
I am thankful for fellow coaches who are far more than that – they are close friends. They have provided the necessary direction, guidance, and humor that have made the daily activities of a long season all that much more enjoyable.
I am especially grateful for five years of great players – and people. This game has always been built around and for the players, and I have tried to respect that for five years in Boston. I have witnessed Hall of Famers, memorable Fenway wins, and countless private moments that will always be with me. Those relationships will remain cherished for years.
The legions of fans who support this franchise keep their manager on his toes day in and day out. There are no days off when managing this proud franchise. I would not have wanted it any other way.
Again, I thank John Henry, Tom Werner, Michael Gordon, and the ownership team for their faith in me and wish them nothing but the best moving forward.
Beyond the managerial change, it seems likely that the Sox will be in for several coaching changes as well. Drellich writes that the team’s coaching staff has been informed that they can pursue opportunities outside the organization — an indication that whoever is tabbed as the next skipper will be able to bring on his own coaching staff.