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Dave Dombrowski’s reasons for firing John Farrell are as clear as mud

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Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski met the press to explain the club’s firing of John Farrell this morning and basically refused to explain it.

Oh, he offered a lot of management speak about it being “time for a change” and the need for the team to “get better” but he did not give any specific reason for Farrell’s 2018 option not getting picked up. Indeed, he specifically said he was not going to provide any specific reason and that he’d keep those to himself.

But he went even further, saying that there was no way Farrell was going to keep his job, even if the Red Sox had beaten the Astros in the ALDS, swept the ALCS and won the dang World Series:

NO level? Really? That seems odd. Then again, this is a team that fired its most successful manager in franchise history because a couple of pitchers decided to have some beer and fried chicken, so never underestimate the Red Sox front office’s dedication to its own ends, however divorced from on-field baseball success it may appear to outside observers. Dombrowski is relatively new to Boston, but he answers to most of the same guys who thought Bobby Valentine was the right choice for this team in 2012.

To be sure, one could make a reasonable case for Farrell to be let go. The young bats the club counted on this season took a step back. Farrell may not have been able to do anything about that, but managers are often fired for that sort of regression of young talent. There was also some discord in the Sox’ clubhouse this year. Dustin Pedroia took another team’s side in a beanball war with the Orioles early in the season, and that’s not the sort of thing one tends to see. David Price mounted a personal vendetta against a broadcaster. There was that Apple Watch sign-stealing thing. Stuff happened. While Farrell has never been a bad manager, he’s not some sort of singular talent either, so replacing him is not, ultimately, a huge deal.

Still, Dombrowski’s cagey approach to this news has to have Red Sox fans scratching their heads. Or maybe just nodding their heads as, perhaps, they are just used to this sort of stuff by now. I’m still fascinated by Red Sox Kremlinology, but maybe people in Boston are just resigned to it.

Whatever the case, this is Boston, so I’m sure a lot more will trickle out about all of this in the coming days. Folks close to the front office doing the usual “throw the guy whose leaving under the bus” stuff and others carrying the water of people close to Farrell or who otherwise opposed to his departure.

All for a club that is the two-time defending AL East champs and has a core of young players most teams would kill to have.

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.