He didn't get job done
Juan C. Rodriguez
Somebody has to wear it, and for lack of a better alternative, it should have been Terry Francona. General manager Theo Epstein said Francona would not be branded the scapegoat. Teams don't lose nine-game September leads and not have a scapegoat.
Are others more deserving? Probably, but what are the Red Sox to do? Release John Lackey and eat the remaining $45.75 million on his deal? Admit Carl Crawford was a bust and make a request that he proves worthy of the $122 million owed him? Let the wunderkind GM bolt for the Cubs because his blueprint called for guys such as Andrew Miller, Erik Bedard and Tim Wakefield to start key games?
Ultimately, it was Francona's job to keep his team loose down the stretch. The Red Sox were anything but that.
Success breeds failure
Dave van Dyck
Each manager is hired with an expiration date, which usually runs out quicker in large media markets where expectations are raised to impossible levels.
Terry Francona won the first World Series in Boston in more than eight decades, as did Ozzie Guillen on Chicago's South Side.
And now they are both gone after hugely disappointing seasons that might have been faults of general managing more than managing, more the faults of players than who was playing them.
Is it fair? Probably not.
But both ultimately were poisoned from the taste of success they helped brew.
Spread the blame
Who's to blame for the Red Sox's collapse? It's a long list.
As the manager, Terry Francona has to get some but not all of the blame. Is he that much different from the guy who led the team to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Probably not, but the players have changed, so maybe his style needed to change a bit more.
Still, general manager Theo Epstein spent big bucks building this team, and all of his moves don't look too good. Pitcher John Lackey has been awful and outfielder Carl Crawford didn't have a good first year with the team.
On paper, the Red Sox were a great team. In reality they were a mess. Having said that, they were one game from making the playoffs. A few moves will take care of that.
Collapse was team effort
Los Angeles Times
I don't think Terry Francona should be the scapegoat, but he deserves a chunk of the blame. Having covered the Angels during their epic 1995 collapse, I know the manager can influence how his team reacts to adversity.
Marcel Lachemann was in his first full year as a manager in 1995. He was a tightly wound guy, and that had some effect on his players as they let an 11-game August lead slip away. Lachemann didn't have the track record of Francona, whose Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. Did he suddenly forget how to manage? I don't think so.
The Red Sox had an incredibly thin rotation and suffered injuries to key players, and many players failed to deliver in the clutch. Their collapse seemed to be a team effort, not the result of one man.