Despite rumors that Manager John Farrell would be dismissed by new Boston Red Sox team President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski once the 2015 season ends, after a second straight year in which a promising Red Sox team languished in last place, sources now say that those rumors have no basis. Farrell, according to reports on Thursday, will once again occupy the Red Sox manager’s office in the 2016 season.
In fact, according to a report by veteran Red Sox correspondent Sean McAdam of Comcast SportsNet, when Dombrowski was hired to run the team in August, he immediately informed Red Sox staffers that he planned to retain Farrell in the 2016 season.
The one caveat, of course, is the health of the 53-year-old Red Sox skipper, who on August 14 announced that he had been diagnosed with Stage One lymphoma, a form of cancer which he described as “highly treatable.”
Farrell will wrap up his final chemotherapy treatments next week, and shortly after that, doctors will determine whether he is cancer-free.
In 2013, his first season as Red Sox manager after taking over after the disastrous single-season reign of Bobby Valentine, Farrell led the team to a 97-65 record, an American League East Division pennant and, to cap off his sensational debut year, a World Series Championship.
But in 2014, the Red Sox slipped back into last place — where they had finished under Valentine in 2012. This season, the team stood at 51-64, again in last place, when Farrell departed the team after his cancer revelation.
Since then, under interim Manager Torey Lovullo, the Red Sox have turned things around, racking up a 28-16 record for a red-hot .636 winning percentage, rising to third place on the strength of a six-game win streak, their longest of the season, as of Thursday.
According to McAdam’s report, Farrell himself has already been informed by Dombrowski that the job will be waiting for him if he feels up to the task, in terms of his health.
Whether Farrell will have the services of his long-time bench coach Lovullo is another question. The 50-year-old, who has managed more than 1,200 minor league games, was the runner up for both the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers managerial jobs in the 2014-2015 offseason. The Red Sox stellar performance since Lovullo took over the team in mid-August is expected to strengthen his case for a Major League managing job elsewhere, assuming one opens up after the 2015 season.
Far less certain, however, is the fate of offseason free-agent signing Hanley Ramirez, who has reportedly departed Boston early and will not finish the season with the team. Allegedly, Ramirez is rehabilitating a shoulder injury, but according to a report on Mass Live, the injury may not be as severe as Ramirez claims.
On September 5, Dombrowski announced that Ramirez would not throw or hit until his shoulder was pain-free. But on September 9, Ramirez was throwing and has also been seen taking batting practice.
Acquired as a free agent from the Los Angeles Dodgers on an extravagant four-year, $88 million contract, Ramirez has provided little value for the nearly $20 million he will be paid this year. His 19 home runs in 401 at-bats were the only highlight on his record, which saw him finish with a dismal .249 batting average and, even worse, .717 OPS.
Since Ramirez was removed from the Red Sox lineup for the final time this season, the team has won 20 games and lost only 11.
But according to Hall of Fame baseball reporter Peter Gammons, Dombrowski remains at least somewhat optimistic about Hanley Ramirez, believing that he will stick to his rehab program and return to spring training healthy and able to convert to first base, while current first baseman Travis Shaw will move to third.
While there has been no official confirmation from the Red Sox about the status of either John Farrell or Hanley Ramirez, latest reports make it look likely that both will be back in Boston when the 2016 season gets underway.
[Images: Joe Skipper / Rich Gagnon / Jim Rogash / Getty Images]