Baseball analyst Curt Schilling, making his weekly appearance with Kirk & Callahan on Wednesday, expressed some surprise that the Red Sox are allowing John Farrell to return as manager. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.
Schilling indicated that he did not believe Farrell deserved to be fired, but with Tuesday’s press conference coming on the heels of a sweep by the Indians in the ALDS, the opening was there to make a change.
“If Dave had been looking for an out, he had it. He didn’t take it,” Schilling said. “I’m glad, obviously, because John is a dear friend. I guess I’m surprised in the sense I don’t really know Dave Dombrowski that well and I was expecting something, if it was going to happen, to happen.”
Farrell has taken some heat for his strategic moves, but Schilling agreed with Dombrowski that there is much more to being a good manager than making all the right decisions during games.
“He made it very clear yesterday, which I think is a lot of the things that most general managers believe now, which is in-game managing is not the priority,” Schilling said. “It’s about — given the money and given the state of the game — it’s about managing your players, about getting them to play up their capabilities. They clearly didn’t do that this series, but I blame Cleveland for that at some point.
“But I think managers have a lot more input and say lineup-wise, roster-composition-wise. So they don’t need the Tony La Russa, who he thinks he’s very much the smartest guy, that he invented the game. They need the guy that can get Manny Ramirez out there 145 days a year.”
Asked about candidates to be the next good young manager in MLB, Schilling mentioned two names with Red Sox ties.
“Alex Cora is the one that blows me away he hasn’t gotten a shot yet. He will be a good manager and I think he’ll be an outstanding one,” Schilling said. “The one that I think is actually almost a crime is DeMarlo Hale. I think DeMarlo is a guy, he’s a manager-in-waiting. I think he’s got enormous amounts of respect around the league, both in uniform and out. And I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten his shot yet.”
As for Jason Varitek, Schilling said his former batterymate might not be the best fit running a team.
“I think he’s a coach. I never looked at Tek as a manager,” Schilling said. “From an IQ perspective, baseball, yeah, absolutely. But I don’t know that his personality is a managing personality. He’s not a guy that wants to stand up in the middle of a room and lecture. He’s very much I think like what Cal Ripken was for me in the sense that he wants to go out and play, and he wants you to play as hard as he plays. He doesn’t want to have to tell you to do it.”
David Price has come under heavy criticism for his disappointing performance in Game 2 of the ALDS. Schilling said it wouldn’t be accurate to call it a choke, because of Price’s history of postseason struggles.
“I don’t think you can choke a game. Chokes for me are moments more than they are games,” Schilling said. “He didn’t do anything he hasn’t consistently done in the past. … I don’t know why anybody would think that was going to change. And that’s not an indictment on him, I love him to death, but I don’t know that physically, stuff-wise, he matches up with October all that well.”
Added Schilling: “All three guys that started for the Red Sox did what they had done in the past in the postseason. I know Rick [Porcello] only had two starts under his belt coming in, and I expected him to throw it better. But when you look at that series, the most staggering number to me, in addition to the home runs that the Indians had, was the total innings of the Sox starting pitchers. It’s like 11 2/3. Jack Morris had like an inning and two-thirds less than that in one game [in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series].”
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