BOSTON (AP) — Dave Dombrowski was on his way to a news conference to discuss the end of the Boston Red Sox season when he passed manager John Farrell, who had just finished meeting the media.
Seemed like as good a time as any to tell Farrell he still has a job.
“John Farrell will be our manager for 2017,” Dombrowski said Tuesday, a day after the Red Sox were swept out of the AL Division Series by the Cleveland Indians. “He is all set, and his whole staff will be invited back.”
Farrell guided the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2013, his first season as Boston manager, but followed with a pair of last-place finishes. In 2015, the Red Sox were stumbling along in fifth place when Farrell was diagnosed with cancer and replaced on the bench temporarily by Torey Lovullo; Dombrowski was hired a week later as president of baseball operations.
This season, the Red Sox went from worst to first, taking the AL East title thanks to an 11-game winning streak in September. But they lost five of their last six games in the regular season, costing them a chance at home-field advantage in the playoffs, and then three in a row to Cleveland.
Speaking 30 minutes before Dombrowski, Farrell said they hadn’t yet discussed his future or his coaching staff. On his way back down to the clubhouse, that changed.
“There are some decisions you need to address as quickly as you can because you know how important they are,” Dombrowski said, explaining that he anticipated the question. “He’s our leader going forward. He’s very well-respected and it gives him the clear mind he needs going forward.”
The Red Sox have an option on Farrell’s contract for 2018. Dombrowski said he will discuss that with owners before making a decision.
On a day the Red Sox had hoped to be playing Game 4 of the ALDS, they instead cleaned out their lockers in the Fenway clubhouse. Slugger David Ortiz did not make an appearance during the hour the room was open to media, but pitcher David Price said Ortiz made his presence felt after the game when he told his teammates that they should be proud of what they accomplished.
“He gets the message out every time,” Price said. “He spoke from the heart. Everyone listened and appreciated it.”
After signing a $217 million, seven-year contract as a free agent, Price led the team in innings and strikeouts but was second on the staff to 22-game winner Rick Porcello. Both struggled against Cleveland, and for Price it was part of a postseason failure habit he had been hoping to reverse.
“I didn’t get it off my back,” said Price, who fell to 0-9 in his career in the playoffs as a starter. “I know that until I do, it’s going to be a topic of conversation.”
Ortiz won’t be back, retiring with 38 homers — the most ever for a 40-year-old and for a player in his final season. He told his teammates after the 4-3 loss to Cleveland on Monday night that they have the talent to build on their 2016 AL East title.
Boston has three potential stars on the roster — MVP contender Mookie Betts and fellow All-Stars Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. — all in their twenties. Prospect Andrew Benintendi played well in a September call up; Yoan Moncada did not hit well during a late-season tryout, but Dombrowski also expressed faith in him.
“We have a lot of good, young players, good teammates, good guys,” Bogaerts said. “We have a lot of stuff to be optimistic about.”
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