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Jim Monaghan
Contributing Writer

Red Sox Manager John Farrell
With just five games remaining to the 2016 season, the Red Sox can clinch the American League Eastern Division championship with a win over the Yankees tonight in the Bronx.

Currently holding the best record in the league, this year has been a far cry from the last-place finishes of the previous two campaigns.

Former Red Sox player and current WEEI midday show co-host Lou Merloni maintains that Farrell does a good job managing the team...it's the game management where he falters.

Yes, he's made some real head-scratching in-game moves this season (Leon bunting last night was one of them for me) but in a season in which he's weathered injuries to three of his top relievers (Carson Smith, Koji Uehara, Craig Kimbrel) he has not only guided the team to the brink of the post-season, but from what insiders tell you, he has kept the club on an even emotional keel throughout the season. He probably won't get the award, but Farrell at least needs to be in the conversation for AL Manager of the Year.

So the question is posed - is John Farrell your American League Manager of the Year? Has he done enough with what he's been given to warrant giving him the award?

The entire RedSoxLife.com staff is here to serve up their opinions. Their answers may surprise you.

BILL FOLEY (@foles74) - If there ever was a chance I could back John Farrell for the Manager of the Year Award — and there wasn’t — it ended on the afternoon in Los Angeles when the manager used Steven Wright as a pinch runner.


Rick Porcello - photo courtesy of the AP
Wright, a knuckleball pitcher whose athletic physique is much closer to that of Joe the Plumber than Dave Roberts, had just pitched a three-hit complete-game shutout against the eventual NL West champion Dodgers. Then he jammed his shoulder, eventually ending his great season, sliding back into second base on a pickoff attempt.

How great would it be heading into the postseason with Rick Porcello, David Price, a rejuvenated Clay Buchholz and Wright? We’ll never know because John Farrell is not the Manager of the Year.

BRYAN MAURO (@threecolorbeard) - Should John Farrell win the AL Manager of the year? No. That is not a knock on what he has done this year, and I am not part of the #FireFarrell regime as some of our readers are. He should be considered for the award, without question.

We all know John Farrell has not made the best decisions in the world with regards to the management of the bullpen, and scheduled off days, etc. However, with all of that aside this team is still winning and winning a lot. So why do I say he won’t win the manager of the year? This team was built to win, it was expected that they would be this good if not great. They have a deep lineup two really good pitchers and a top notch farm-system. All of those things are a recipe for a success for many years in the MLB.

David Price - photo courtesy of Getty Images
I also am not ignoring the fact that this same team minus David Price, Chris Young and Craig Kimbrel also did not win last year, or the prior year. This team flat out was still expected to win, not just by Red Sox Nation but by the media and baseball pundits everywhere. It will be hard to make a case for John Farrell when you have Terry Francona and Jeff Banister in the same league. What the Indians have done this year has been nothing short of remarkable, and no one picked them to win that division, especially with the Royals and Tigers in that division and with what appeared to be really strong teams.

The Rangers are also a nice story, yes they won the division last year, but the Astros got another year older and acquired some more talent in the offseason which along with the Mariners was to push them to the division title. None of that happened and the Rangers ran away with the West division; the Rangers won that division with a banged up pitching staff and no bullpen.

My vote goes to Terry Francona, just for the sure fact that it has been 9 years since they had won a division title in Cleveland, and no one saw that coming.

Terry Francona - photo courtesy of USA Today
ERIC D. SCHABELL (@erics_redsox) - John Farrell is not even close to manager of the year. Think about Buck Showalter managing the heck outta that decimated bullpen/rotation in Baltimore as my leading candidate. He has kept them in the race for the postseason against all odds. It will go down to the wire there. Tito Francona gets another vote from me this year as he as pieced together many a game for the Indians to clinch the AL Central on Monday, god bless him! The team got Farrell here and just being on a winning team a Manager of the Year does not make, as Joe Maddon the poster child should be.

BRIAN HINES (@jonlestersghost) - John Farrell has had a very interesting season managing the Boston Red Sox this year. From looking at the Red Sox record, which stands at 92-65, Farrell seems like he's doing a great job. But reading through Twitter, Boston newspapers or listening to local radio stations, it seems like John Farrell is about to be fired any second.

Managing in the majors today is one of the toughest positions to be in. When your team loses, you will most likely be at blame. There always seems to be something you could've done better. Managers must have a lot of strategy, but being a player's person is almost just as important. Have you heard any criticism from the players or that Farrell ever lost control of the clubhouse? His players rally around him and realize his importance to the team.

Farrell has made some questionable decisions throughout the year, like Steven Wright pinch running. But nothing can take away that his team is 27 games above .500 and should be clinching the AL East shortly. While the Red Sox season has been full of ups and downs, John Farrell came to work calmly everyday and believed in his players. Now look past those #FireFarrell hashtags all over Boston, and realize John Farrell has this team ready to make a long playoff run and maybe take home an American League Manager of the Year Award.

MICHAEL FLYNN (@86flynn) - I don't have a pick for Manager of the year just yet, but Farrell isn't my top choice. I can imagine that he'll get some votes because he's turned the team into a powerhouse, has guided Porcello to the ace that he's become and has allowed the youth to take over the team.

Mookie Betts - photo courtesy of the Associated Press
But it really doesn't take much thinking to move Mookie Betts into the cleanup spot and while I agree on the Wright base running blunder, I still don't know how you get injured on a play like that if you're simply sliding back to the base.

He's botched some close games in the pen and has had a few questionable pinch-hitting calls as well. He just doesn't manage the game very well and the talent around him has finally come together at the most important time to bail him out.

They'll end up winning the division and be a force to be reckon with in October, but he still lurks in the dugout with a bad move at any moment.

JENNIFER WARNER (@soxfan012) - I don't have a pick for Manager of the year yet either, and it certainly won't be Farrell. I think that he has managed to look good because of the competency of the staff he has around him and the skill of the team as a whole. Do I think he managed to turn this team around? No. I think it was his staff.

Just my 2 cents...

Dustin Pedroia - photo courtesy of Getty Images
JAN-CHRISTIAN SORENSEN (@jan_doh) - John Farrell for manager of the year? While he has been at the helm of a team that is tearing it up in the American League of late, Farrell does not get my vote as top dugout captain in the circuit. I’d give that easily to Cleveland’s Terry Francona or Texas’ Jeff Bannister, who have done much more with much less in their arsenal this season. In my mind, and if I had my druthers, I’d instead award this prestigious honor to Red Sox baseman Dustin Pedroia, who seems to have done more on and off the field and in the dugout to help steady, correct and lead this team than Farrell has.

From lambasting Eduardo Rodriguez on the hill in the middle of a game in the month of June in which the Sox went 9-15 and the starting rotation was 5-10 with a 5.39 ERA that led to a critical team meeting to helping David Price fix a flaw in his delivery in May which effectively helped to turn the left-hander’s season around for the Sox to singlehandedly winning the team’s last two games in Tampa Bay — and helping the Sox clinch a postseason berth — with a grand slam on Sept. 23 and an 11th-inning dance spectacular around Rays’ backstop Luke Maile at home plate to notch Boston’s 11th-consecutive win on Sept. 24 — the Laser Show (and Muddy Chicken) has, as usual, been the rock for this team. Sure, he’s not able to claim the AL Manager of the year award, but I’d easily vote for Pedey over Farrell. Don’t be surprised if, when his contract ends with the Sox in 2020, we see him take over in the dugout and add an AL Manager of the Year trophy to the Rookie of the Year and AL MVP honors he has already collected.

David Ortiz - photo courtesy of the Boston Red Sox
RYAN MACLEOD (@RyanMacleod15) - Manager of the Year? The manager of the year deserves to go to a manager who if he were replaced, his replacement wouldn't be more successful than he has been. Aside from the points that my fellow writers have made about pinch running pitchers, or mismanaging bullpens, John Farrell has statistically been awful below par as a manager. In four years at the helm of the Red Sox he has amassed a record of 338-304, a win percentage of .526. He has led this ball club to one, soon to be two, AL East titles, winning the World Series in 2013, but also 2 last-place finishes. The years that the club has not finished in last place the club was overcome with the emotion that surrounded the strength of the city of Boston in 2013 and the refusal of David Ortiz to go out in his final season as a loser. John Farrell isn't the manager of the year, and while he has recently been getting consideration it's not even close. Terry Francona gets my vote.

MIKE LOVETT (@MikeiLovett) - I don't think he is the manager of the year either. But here's why he 100% deserves to be in the conversation. They've had the top offense all year, they're a very effective team on the bases, the pitching staff has improved immensely as the season has gone on, and they're a game away from claiming the most competitive division in the AL, playing at a high level at a hugely important time. He's had a handful of really head-scratching decisions during games which is why I don't give it the award to him and wonder about his future with the team depending on playoff performance. But a team that has been very good in a lot of areas is well coached. And the manager deserves a lot of credit for that.

BEN WHITEHEAD (@thebenwhitehead) - I'll be a little more forgiving, and agree with a lot of what Mike said.

John Farrell has earned the Manager of the Year title for 2016 and here's why. The Boston Red Sox were picked to win the American League by many and the World Series by some. When expectations are high and the team is supposed to win "on paper," there seems to always be a letdown. Not just in Boston, but across Major League Baseball. Farrell hasn't made all the right decisions, but find me a manager who has. Coaching and managing the game of baseball is more challenging than in any other sport.

What Farrell has done with this bunch of Red Sox is fascinating. He has this group competing at a high level in the toughest division in baseball. He has this group playing the game with flair and swag. He has this group competing for home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Again, yes, this team was picked to do that. But with the injuries, dealing with multiple personalities, the revolving door at catcher - Hanley at first base! - and a farewell tour for the game's best DH, give Farrell his due. And that would be Manager of the Year. At the very least, he didn't win it in 2013 when everything went right for the Sox. We cried foul when he was robbed of it. This time around, it should be his.




What do YOU think? Is the #FireFarrell Brigade right, or has John Farrell been responsible for keeping the 2016 Red Sox on an even keel?

Click here to find more by Jim Monaghan on Red Sox Life. Follow him on twitter - @Monaghan21.

Jim Monaghan 9/28/2016 12:38:00 PM Edit
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