U.S. & World
Even while his Boston Red Sox headed toward a second straight division crown, manager John Farrell sensed something was amiss.
As in, his job could be in jeopardy.
"I think as the season wore on, and as we got down to the final weeks, maybe there was a little bit of a gut feeling like, you know what, this might be taking place," the new ESPN analyst said Monday, "and it did."
Less than 48 hours after the Red Sox lost to Houston in the AL Division Series in October, Farrell was fired.
Farrell's five-year tenure was marked by all-or-nothing results.
He debuted in the Boston dugout with a World Series championship in 2013. The next two seasons, the Red Sox finished in last place. Then they posted back-to-back division titles for the first time in team history, but lost in the ALDS each year.
Farrell was among three managers who got fired after making the playoffs--Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees and Dusty Baker also were let go.
"This has been a unique offseason in many ways, whether it's been managerial changes, the free agency situation, and we find ourselves still on the outside looking in," Farrell said during a conference call.
"If you finished in first place last year, you were twice as likely as to be fired as if you finished in last place. So from that perspective, yeah, a little bit surprised a change was made," he said.
Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski made the move, saying: "I thought it was the appropriate time to make a change for the betterment of the organization."
Alex Cora was hired as a first-time manager.
"I do know Dave came in and he inherited me," Farrell said. "So he felt like there was a change that was needed because we made quick exits the two years consecutive going into the postseason. So the expectation as it is every year, whether it's New York or Boston, LA, Chicago, to go deep into the October run, we didn't do it."
"So I wish Alex Cora and everybody all the best there going forward," he said.
The 55-year-old Farrell has a new job, too. Two of them, actually.
Farrell was recently hired by Cincinnati as an internal scout, looking over the Reds' organization and focusing mostly on pitching. The former big league pitcher and pitching coach spent 10 days with the team at spring training this month in Goodyear, Arizona.
"This is a non-uniform position. So, like I said, it's more evaluation and recommendation from a development plan standpoint, but the focus being at the upper levels," he said.
Farrell's son, Luke, made his big league debut last year with Kansas City. He later pitched for Cincinnati and threw a scoreless inning against Boston. The right-hander is in camp with the Chicago Cubs this spring.
Last week, his dad joined ESPN as a studio analyst for "Baseball Tonight." He'll begin Wednesday night when he helps preview the season, which opens Thursday.
"Mark Teixeira is among the broadcasters that Farrell will work with. He starred for the Yankees in 2009 when they won the World Series under Girardi.
"I think in the Yankees' perspective, Joe had a great run there, and everyone respected Joe," Teixeira said. "Everyone liked Joe. But with the young crew that was coming up _ the Baby Bombers, if you will _ I think Joe's intensity was a little much for guys."
"I think that the front office noticed that when young talent comes up, you want to play loose. You want to have fun. Maybe they just wanted a new fresh face in there, a fresh voice, and Aaron Boone was that fresh voice," he said. "I don't think it is an indictment on Joe Girardi as manager. I think it's just the clubhouse culture that the Yankees wanted."