BOSTON -- Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski put any speculation to rest at the start of his season-ending news conference on Tuesday by announcing that manager John Farrell will be back in the dugout next season.
In fact, Dombrowski had cleared up any ambiguity Farrell might have had regarding his status just minutes earlier in a quick conversation.
"Well, surprisingly, I thought you might ask that question. So I just spoke to John when he walked out here, and John Farrell will be our manager for 2017," said Dombrowski. "So, he is all set, and his whole staff will be invited back and we're anticipating that they will be back short of something else happening. But everybody is welcome back. I think they did a very fine job for us. I just talked to him when he walked out this door."
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Perhaps only in Boston does the security of a manager come in question after a 93-win season and an American League East title.
The Red Sox, of course, do have high expectations. The club had finished in last place the previous two seasons under Farrell, and the team was just swept out of the AL Division Series by the Indians. One might recall Grady Little's option not being picked up after the 2003 season, when the Red Sox were just five outs away from getting to the World Series.
That said, Farrell will come back next season, and he will try to win his second World Series championship as manager. The Red Sox hold an option for Farrell in 2018.
"As far as an extension, we have an option on his contract for 2018," said Dombrowski. "However, at this point, with something of that magnitude, I need to sit down with ownership and discuss that. So for me, I think it's important for everyone to know he's our leader going forward. He's very well-respected, and it gives him the clearer mind that he needs along with his staff to move forward."
Farrell is looking forward to another season with the Red Sox, his fifth as manager, and an opportunity to wipe away the bitter taste that lingered on Tuesday. His news conference started just a half hour before Game 4 would have started at Fenway, had there been a Game 4.
"Right now, this is a disappointment for us," said Farrell. "For anyone in our uniform, for our staff, for anyone in the organization and certainly our fans. Ideally we're thinking we're getting ready for Game 4. But we sit here today with that disappointment in hand. And yet, at the same time, our focus quickly shifts to how we get better."
Dombrowski did not hire Farrell originally. That was former general manager Ben Cherington. And when Dombrowski took over baseball operations for the Red Sox last August, Farrell was getting ready to start chemotherapy and missed the final six weeks of the 2015 season. The two men didn't truly start to form a daily relationship until this season.
"I thought very good, very naturally," said Farrell, when asked about the evolution of his relationship with Dombrowski. "As challenges arose, there was a lot of give and take. A lot of multiple times a day conversation. I think we were able to handle the things thrown our way. And I anticipate there will be more things thrown our way."
While second-guessing a manager's in-game strategy is a sport in just about every city, it is taken to another level in Boston. Dombrowski doesn't play into that type of thing. In fact, he views other aspects of Farrell's job as more important than what he does as a tactician.
"I do not feel in-game strategy is the biggest thing as a manager," said Dombrowski. "I think it's important, but there are other things that are probably more important. I think the ability, as I've often told managers, to me, the most important thing for a manager is that their club plays up to their capabilities day-in, day-out, which means they're communicating with their players and getting everything they can. That means their club is playing hard.
"In-game strategy, of course, is very important. But having been through this so much -- and I've answered the question in the past here, and I hope I'm not being too redundant -- I think that's what makes our game so interesting. A lot of people think they know more than the manager when it comes to strategy."
Though the Red Sox would have loved to make a better showing in the ALDS, the players seemed to respond well to Farrell.
"He's been even keeled all year," said Red Sox lefty David Price. "He's easy to talk to, and his door is always open. He gets here early and stays late. He welcomes guys to come in and talk to him if they have a problem. Whatever it is, his door is always open. He is easily accessible."