DETROIT — Some Red Sox fans are grousing about John Farrell being named manager because of his uninspiring two seasons with Toronto.
That’s understandable. Until we see how Farrell handles the Red Sox, it’s fair to believe that Brad Ausmus or one of the other candidates would have been a better choice.
But before you complain about Farrell, consider the path of Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
He managed the Padres from 1995-2006 and was under .500 despite making the playoffs four times. The Padres finished in first in his last two seasons then lost in the division series.
When Bochy wanted to jump to the Giants, he was still under contract. The Padres, who wanted a younger manager, let him go without compensation. Bochy was 71-91 and 72-90 in his first two seasons in San Francisco.
Hiring Bochy away from the Padres looked like a terrible idea at the time. But the Giants were patient and now they are two wins away from their second World Series title in three years. For them, Bochy was the perfect choice.
“He’s one of the best managers in all of baseball, there’s no question,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Bochy earlier today. “Handles his bullpen tremendous; as good as you can handle a bullpen. He’s at the head of the class with some other guys, there’s no question about that.
“He’s a tremendous manager. He’s got a nice, calming influence about himself. You know who’s in charge. He’s everything that’s good about baseball managers, in my opinion. He does it the right way.”
You can use statistics and fact-based projections to pick players. It’s not an exact science, but there is at least some degree of science involved. But it’s not the way with managers. You have to weigh a bunch of intangibles and make a call.
Ben Cherington made his call, deciding that Farrell was the best manager for this particular Red Sox team at this particular point in time.
How it all works out will be determined in time. But when it comes to managers, predicting success is rarely about their record.