BOSTON (CBS) — John Farrell will be back as manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2017, but will his stay on the bench go beyond next season?

While Dave Dombrowski quickly announced that Farrell will be back next season at his after-season press conference last Tuesday, he didn’t have much to say about picking up the manager’s option for 2018, saying that was a discussion he’ll have with team ownership in the near future.

Tony Massarotti joined Dan Roche on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final OT on Sunday night, and said without that option being picked up, things don’t look good for Farrell’s future with the team.

“I look at that and say ‘Well, are you in or are you out?’ This relates to the past because Grady Little in 2003, they didn’t pick up [his option] before the season. Terry Francona in 2011, they didn’t pick it up before the season. If the Red Sox have doubts, they should make the change earlier rather than later,” said Mazz. “It’s hard to do in season. I look at it and say they’re straddling a line there, and that’s never good.”

Mazz said there is a chance they could sign Farrell to an extension in the spring, but “if you’re going to do it, why not do it now?” he asked.

While the team won 93 games during the regular season and Farrell was not the reason they were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, Mazz said if the Red Sox want to reach the next level at this point they’ll need someone other than Farrell on the bench.

“The Red Sox are an elite franchise, one of the Top 5 in Major League Baseball, and they deserve a Top 5 manager. When Farrell was brought here, they were at a stage where they needed stability and he was the right guy at the right time. Now they need another guy to go to the next level,” said Mazz, though he’s not sure who would be that next guy to come in and do so. “I would like to think the Red Sox have some grasp as to personnel out there and who would be the next guy.”

As for upgrades to the team, Mazz said there aren’t many free agent options when it comes to improving the starting rotation. Boston could use their collection of assets to address that need on the trade market, but if not, Massarotti said their best bet is to bulk up the bullpen.

“This is the problem; there are no great starters on the free agent market. They can explore one by trade and they do have pieces to deal. They have an extra outfielder between [Jackie] Bradley, [Andrew] Benintendi and [Blake] Swihart. They may have an extra catcher if Swihart factors in behind the plate. They can include [Drew] Pomeranz and/or [Eduardo] Rodriguez in a deal for an upgrade,” he said. “If that’s not there, and it may not be, load up in the bullpen. Do what Cleveland and Kansas City have done and get some real power [in the pen].”

Mazz also touched on “replacing” David Ortiz in the lineup, and said it won’t be as simple as adding a bat like Edwin Encarnacion. Check out the full video above, and tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT every Sunday night at 11:35pm on WBZ-TV!



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