John Farrell has been named the American League Manager of the Year by the Sporting News after taking the Red Sox from the AL East cellar to the World Series.
Manager is an often thankless job. Particularly when under the magnifying glass that exists in a place like Boston. There is an expectation of perfection from a manager when it comes to in-game decisions, and often fans make judgments based on incomplete information, the manager taking a hit for the sake of the team*.
And when you do get it right? Most of the time it's passed off as only what should have been expected of any manager.
I don't know if John Farrell deserves this award because, frankly, making that call probably requires perfect information about every team and everything that's going on behind closed doors in all thirty clubhouses. That being said, one year after the disaster that was Bobby Valentine, the difference is simply stunning.
This isn't just about 97-65 or a trip to the World Series, but about how little complaint we've heard from any member of Boston's roster. The Red Sox have weathered huge slumps from various players at different times in the year--Drew to start, Napoli in the middle, just about everyone in the postseason--and injury stories for guys like Clay Buchholz that, in 2012, would have exploded into a media frenzy. They've done so with composure and solidarity and come out the other side a more cohesive unit. Lineup changes, limited playing time for guys like Carp, Gomes (now Nava), and Bogaerts, and none of the uproar from fans or media has had an impact on the guys on the team.
More than any lineup decisions or pitching changes, that's been the value of John Farrell.
*Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes in this postseason? We may never know.
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