Winning a division title in Major League Baseball is not good enough these days. Just ask John Farrell, until recently manager of the Boston Red Sox, or Dusty Baker, the former manager of the Washington Nationals.
Winning a division series and reaching the seventh game of the American League Championship Series is not good enough, either. Just ask Joe Girardi, until Thursday the manager of the New York Yankees. His downfall? The Houston Astros defeated the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS.
I don’t get it. The Red Sox won the A.L. East for the second consecutive season but lost to the Astros in the ALDS. That cost Farell his job. The Nationals won the N.L. East for the second consecutive season but lost to Chicago in the NLDS. See ya later, Dusty. The Yankees finished second to the Red Sox but unlike the Sox enjoyed a spirited post-season until their last game. Bye, Joe.
Farrell was 432-378 in five seasons as Red Sox manager. His teams won the World Series in 2013 and division titles in 2016 and 2017. And he got dumped! Boston’s president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, offered no specific reason.
Baker was 192-132 in two seasons with the Nationals. He won the N.L. East by 8 games in 2016 and a whopping 20 games this year. And he got dumped! New direction, the club offered.
Girardi was 910-710 in 10 seasons as manager of the Yankees. His teams reached the post-season six times and won the 2009 World Series. Nevertheless, even though he guided a young team to within one victory of the World Series this season, the Yankees chose not to offer him a new contract after his four-year deal expired. “Pursuing alternatives,” general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement.
Gone are the days when qualifying for the playoffs meant a team had good season. Now, it’s all or nothing. A World Series title or else. Too bad.
This much is certain. Farrell, Baker and Girardi will be managing somewhere next season, if they desire a return to the dugout. They are proven commodities on the managerial merry-go-round.