The Red Sox are looking to lock up John Farrell long-term according to Sean McAdam, who says the team has initiated extension talks with their manager as he enters his third year in charge.
The Red Sox are under no pressure to extend Farrell immediately--he's under team control through 2016 if they pick up his option year--but it's not surprising to see Ben Cherington and co. trying to get this out of the way. There was a clear sense in the aftermath of the Bobby Valentine era that Farrell was far-and-away their first choice for the job, and after the worst-to-first turnaround of 2013, Farrell has earned plenty of goodwill from the front office and city alike.
Honestly, though, the success of 2013 isn't really a testament to John Farrell's ability as a manager. That team was talented and enjoyed a strong record from beginning to end, never really coming under too much big-picture pressure. He had his fair share of questionable decisions at the helm (what manager doesn't?), but on the whole he can be commended primarily for not getting in the way of a good thing.
If there's a reason to believe that John Farrell is the right man for this job, it comes not from 2013, but 2014. The 2014 Red Sox entered the season with high expectations, faltered early, and never really recovered. They stayed close enough to competitive just long enough to give fans some hope, then crushed it pretty dramatically with a pair of terrible losing streaks. The middle of the year saw them trade away one of the team's most beloved players in Jon Lester to boot. It wasn't the fault of Farrell. It was just a combination of rookies failing to produce and players dealing with injuries (Victorino, Pedroia) or struggling to come back from them (Buchholz) that left the team that much less impressive than the 2013 model.
And you know what? We didn't wind up with players sending text messages from other players' phones. There were no player meetings to complain to ownership, no "toxic clubhouse" stories, no huge fallout. Just as quickly as the Red Sox went from worst to first, they were back on bottom, but this time a disappointing season did not lead to a total organizational meltdown. The worst sign of discontent came from John Lackey seemingly forcing his way out at the deadline and, frankly, that bed was probably made from 2010 to 2012, not 2014. Hell, even A.J. Pierzynski inspired only stories of tapping away at an iPad.
There are some few managers who seem capable of actually improving the quality of their teams with in-game decisions. At best, most can just hope not to drag them down. But we've seen the value of a manager who can keep things smooth in the locker room, and those abilities are never put to the test so much as in a terrible season like 2014. The contrast between 2012 and 2014 is reason enough to be happy to have John Farrell around for the foreseeable future, even if he inspires a few in-game grumbles from the fans during the course of any given year.
As far as financials are concerned, manager money is a pittance compared to player money, and doesn't count against the Luxury Tax threshold to boot. Farrell will likely cost the Red Sox a few million per year, but if that means not risking another year lost to a Bobby Valentine disaster, that's money well spent.