Five years is a long time – particularly in one of the most scrutinized jobs in sports. Five years is enough time for a job description to change drastically, for the role of “manager of the Boston Red Sox’’ to mean something very different than it once did.
Among the changes that led the Sox to fire John Farrell on Wednesday were the transition from a veteran to a young core, changing leadership dynamics in the absence of bench coach Torey Lovullo and star David Ortiz, a different boss from the one who had hired Farrell, changes in the responsibilities of the manager and coaching staff in an era of data explosion, and the energy drain of five years in a job that carries a finite shelf life. The needs that Farrell once addressed weren’t necessarily the ones that the Sox now faced.
After the 2012 season, Farrell represented the perfect hire at the perfect time in Boston, a familiar and trusted voice who could end the infighting that team officials believed had played a significant role in team-wide underperformance during the ill-fated tenure of Bobby Valentine. Farrell connected instantly with that group, and his leadership – in lockstep with then-GM Ben Cherington – played a meaningful role in the 2013 team’s march to a championship.