The Red Sox are in first place in the AL East despite a whole lot of flaws with the club. Their offense is on and off, the bullpen seems as though it will implode at any moment (especially on the road and Craig Kimbrel not withstanding) and their manager is the WORST in-game manager in baseball. But John Farrell’s most egregious sin is how he has let the culture in the clubhouse deteriorate without the presence of Big Papi; and there is no better indicator of that than the actions of David Price.
Price has had two fairly high profile run-ins with the media this season. The first was back in early June after an 8-0 loss at Yankee Stadium, when he went on an expletive-filled tirade where he proclaimed that he will only speak to the media on days that he pitches.
After Price’s first outburst, John Farrell had a choice. He could either back David Price, or set the tone and let Price and the rest of the clubhouse know that they need to be professionals and handle their responsibilities with the media without acting like entitled, spoiled brats.
Which one do you think he chose? Of course Farrell decided to back David Price. Of course he backed the guy who sarcastically refers to Farrell as “Manager John” and is about as thin skinned as a 4th grader. Of course he decided to tell the assembled media that, “accountability is a two-way street”, rather than holding Price accountable.
The second incident was when he and Dennis Eckersley had a confrontation on a team flight from Boston to Toronto on June 29. According to the report, Price’s issue stemmed from Dennis Eckersley saying “yuck” when the telecast flashed the absolutely horrendous stat line of Eduardo Rodriguez’s rehab start in Pawtucket. That is what Price was so upset about. Seriously.
According to reports, when Eckersley got on the plane, Price sarcastically said “Here he is! The greatest pitcher to ever live! This game comes easy to him!”. When Eck tried to respond, Price told him to “get the f— out of here!” and was actually APPLAUDED by some of his Red Sox teammates.
When Price was asked about it, he said that, “some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.” Fair enough, except that fact that Dennis Eckersley is in the HALL OF FAME! I think he kind of understands what it takes to be successful in Major League Baseball. And not for nothing, but Eckersley was wildly successful as both a starter and a reliever during the course of his career. Did you forget who you were talking about, David?
The day after the confrontation, Farrell said that he, Price, and President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski had a meeting and that the situation was being handled internally. This could be true, but I highly doubt it, considering the fact that no one from the organization has issued an apology to Eckersley.
Here’s what should have happened: After Price’s first outburst, he should have received a modest fine, and Farrell should’ve publicly reprimanded Price to make it clear to Price and the rest of the Red Sox that they are professionals and they will be expected to act like it. That’s it. That’s all that Farrell had to do to avoid the second outburst. And if for some reason the Eckersley incident happens anyway, you fine him even more and suspend him.
Now, Farrell has opened up a whole can of worms. He has now set a precedent that his guys can say whatever they want, whenever they want, and treat people however they want. Wrong message to Johnny boy. This is a young team and they need to be led by someone who has a spine and unfortunately, that is NOT John Farrell.
Would this have happened if Terry Francona was managing this team? The answer to that is an emphatic no. These two situations prove that John Farrell is soft, which is pretty much what most of Red Sox Nation already knew. He doesn’t know how to hold people accountable, which is what the Red Sox pay him very handsomely to do.