Despite being swept out of the 2016 American League Division Series by the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox reaffirmed their commitment to manager John Farrell on Tuesday. 

Dave Dombrowski, the team’s president of baseball operations, announced Farrell will stay with the team in 2017, according to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe.

In February 2015, the Red Sox extended Farrell’s deal to keep him on board through the 2017 season, with an option for 2018. Dombrowski declined to say whether Boston will exercise that option.

“Something of that magnitude I need to sit down with ownership and discuss that,” he said, according to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald.

While the Red Sox finished the regular season with a 93-69 record, their postseason exit led to some criticism of Farrell’s handling of his team.

In particular, many questioned his decision to pinch-hit Chris Young for Andrew Benintendi in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 3 of the ALDS. While Young walked during the at-bat, Boston was without Benintendi to lead off the bottom of the ninth as it looked to come back from a 4-3 deficit.’s Chad Finn was among those who thought Farrell made a big mistake:

Eric Wilbur of thought the ALDS as a whole helped to illustrate the gulf between Farrell and a tactically astute manger such as the Indians’ Terry Francona:

Yet, this series perhaps exposed Farrell’s shortcomings as a big league manager all the same. You could give him and [Francona] two seats to deal with, and Farrell would probably still lose playing musical chairs to his old friend.

Farrell doesn’t have to stay because of the success that the Red Sox found this year, winning the American league East after back-to-back last-place finishes. He needs to go because of the continued promise of watching his in-game decisions backfire, and particularly after watching Francona manage circles around him, almost as if he were in his pickup willingly doing donuts on Farrell’s own manicured lawn.

In August, Abraham also took issue with how Farrell handled Red Sox pitchers:

Farrell also has had less of an effect on the pitching staff than you would have expected from an accomplished former pitching coach. Certainly, he needs to respect boundaries and let coaches do their jobs. But Farrell should be having more direct impact on somebody like David Price.

As a pitching coach, Farrell was an authority figure with the pitchers to a point that some feared him. He was their boss. As the manager, he seems too much like their protector.

Expectations will be high for the Red Sox in 2017, yet it’s doubtful a slow start to next year would result in Farrell’s firing in the first few months. The team hasn’t fired a manager in the middle of a season since Jimy Williams in 2001. Even Bobby Valentine finished out a disastrous 2012 campaign before losing his job.

With only one more guaranteed year left on his deal, Farrell will be under heavy pressure to deliver. Anything short of a trip to the American League Championship Series could put his job in serious jeopardy.

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