Quick, now: what do John Farrell and Dusty Baker have in common? Their teams both won 93+ games over the past two seasons? Nope. That their teams won consecutive Division titles? Uh-Uh! Oh, those are very good answers! How about that, for their efforts over the past two seasons, they were both fired from their jobs as managers? You got it!
You will have to forgive me…I was always under the impression that the reason a manager in MLB was fired was because their team failed to make the playoffs! Like, Brad Ausmus of the Detroit Tigers, whose teams missed the playoffs for the third straight year after winning 90 games and a division title in 2014. Nay…Farrell and Baker were let go because their teams failed to advance past the Division series. Really? There are managers from ten teams in the American League and ten teams in the National League that would have loved to be in the position that Farrell and Baker were at the end of this season.
So, what was the reason given by the Red Sox (Farrell) and Nationals (Baker) for terminating their managers? They wanted to “go in a different direction”. Translation: They want to make it to the World Series or their season would be considered a “bust”. I guess Mr. Dombrowski and Mr. Rizzo don’t realize that only one team from each League makes it to the World Series.
In the case of the Red Sox, I think it was a case of being too greedy…to try and get a fourth World Series title in 13 years after going without a title for 86 years. Even in the first season without David Ortiz, the BoSox won another division title. Apparently, an early exit from the playoffs, at the hands of a very good Houston Astros team, was too much to bear. Scapegoat: Farrell.
For the Nationals, give them credit…they have been trying! Washington has been in the playoffs four times since 2012; unfortunately, they have not made it past the first round in any of the seasons. They tried with Baker this year and last year; they tried with Matt Williams in 2014; they tried with Davey Johnson in 2012…the result was the same: elimination in the Division Series.
I guess the Nationals thought it was Baker’s fault that Bryce Harper missed 51 games; that shortstop Trea Turner missed 64 games; that Adam Eaton, their projected leadoff hitter and catalyst for the offense, appeared in only 23 games before he went down for the season. Scapegoat: Baker!
So, what does a prospective manager need to do in order to keep his job? In the case of the Red Sox or Nationals, you had better get your team to the World Series, or you will wind up in the unemployment line. Boston is pinning their hopes on Alex Cora. Washington? They are still looking. I just wonder how many prospective managers Washington has to interview until they find one that is crazy enough to try and fill Dusty Baker’s shoes…or Matt Williams’…or Davey Johnson’s.