By now everyone’s heard that the Boston Red Sox are parting ways with manager John Farrell. The embattled manager was at the helm of the Sox for five seasons, winning a World Series in the first year of his tenure and making the playoffs as division winners the past two seasons. Still, postseason disappointment and clubhouse friction (hello, David Price!) seems to have cost Farrell his job.
Joe Girardi, meanwhile, has been leading the Yankees on the field for a decade, while experiencing varying degrees of success with various levels of true talent teams. Regardless of personal opinion, it’s hard to deny Girardi’s value and how desireable landing him would be to the majority of MLB clubs. Since his contract expires at the end of the 2017 season, Girardi could find himself the most coveted free agent coming out of the Bronx.
What does one have to do with the other? Simply put, the high degree of latitude managers are given should mean that Girardi never really reaches free agency. If Farrell can survive two last place finishes and two ALDS appearances ending in a loss, the result of an ALDS the Yankees weren’t even supposed to be featured in shouldn’t cost Girardi a new contract, nor should a decision to not challenge a hit by pitch.
Farrell lasted through two last-place seasons in Boston, where Girardi hasn’t ever steered a team to worse than third in the perennially powerful AL East. World Series rings? They have the same number. And while both play in insanely hot media markets, I can’t remember a Yankee fighting openly with members of New York media, nor can I think of clubhouse friction on the scale that Farrell dealt with and obviously couldn’t control. Say what you will about Joe Girardi, the man runs an incredibly tight ship.
The key takeaway from John Farrell’s departure, and to a lesser extent Brad Ausmus’, is the leeway major league managers are given in their careers. Larger mistakes than Girardi’s non-challenge have been forgiven, and managers have survived more toxic clubhouses than the Yankees for longer.
Girardi is in a nearly-unique position as a manger due to his leverage negotiating a new contract, but seeing all that John Farrell survived, for as long as he did, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees letting Joe walk without any effort.