Associated Press

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.

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
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MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.

Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.

Scherzer’s statement:

After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.

Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.

Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.