Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

My Thoughts on John Farrell

John Farrell was officially hired as the 46th manager in Red Sox history on Sunday. Ben Cherington and Co. got their man. And Sox fans should be happy about that. Here’s why.

This time last year Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos wanted Clay Buchholz in exchange for John Farrell. It was just one year ago that the Jays’ front office thought that Farrell was worth a pitcher who is good and has the potential to be a legitimate front of the rotation starter. The Red Sox obviously rebuffed the Blue Jays’ request and hired Bobby Valentine. One year later, the asking price dropped considerably as the Jays accepted infielder Mike Aviles in exchange for their manager who still had one-year remaining on his three-year deal. Detractors have pointed to Farrell’s questionable in-game management (overly aggressive on the base paths) and the disruptions within Toronto’s clubhouse. It is accurate to say that there are fragments of truth buried in each of those two criticisms. However, the fact remains that just 12 months ago the Jays thought very highly of their former skipper–enough to demand Buchholz in return.

Farrell knows the demands that come with managing a baseball team that plays in Boston. There are no surprises here. Farrell served as the pitching coach from 2007-2010. He oversaw a staff that won a World Series, and one that went all the way to Game Seven of the ALCS. He knows the landscape, the demands, and many of the players. Familarity, coupled with two years of separation from the tumult in Boston, makes Farrell a nice fit.

The hiring process was completed relatively quickly. This could have carried on for awhile. Figuring out compensation for a manager or front office executive is never easy as we saw with the Theo Epstein to the Cubs saga last year. The Red Sox, however, were able to acquire Farrell in a reasonable amount of time. This will allow them to begin the process of assembling their 2013 squad immediately. And that, of course, is the most important part of the offseason.

Farrell was the unanimous choice by everyone involved in the selection process. That means John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and, most importantly, Ben Cherington agreed that Farrell was the best choice. Remember that that was simply not the case last time around. Cherington did not want Valentine. Lucchino did. Lucchino won. There was dysfunction from the beginning. Things go smoother when everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Is Farrell perfect? No. Does he have his warts? Yes. Most importantly, is he the right man, at the right time for the job? Time will tell. In the meantime, there is no doubt that his hiring has restored a sense of order, a feeling of confidence about the future of this team–something that players, brass, and fans alike can appreciate.

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5 thoughts on “My Thoughts on John Farrell

  1. As you know, I’m not a fan and think they could have done better. But they also could’ve done worse. Much worse. So all I can do is accept it, hope for the best and move on.

    Moving forward, more so than any player they pick up, they NEED to get a good coaching staff. Particularly bench and pitching coach. Bench coach to help him with his in-game decisions which are a major weakness. I’m hearing Lovullo which would be fantastic. He was very impressive in his interview last year and would just be a great addition. Even if it’s only for a year since he’s a manager-in-waiting somewhere.

    Also a REAL pitching coach. Not a roving instructor with the label of pitching coach like Bob McClure. If the pitching turns around next year it will not be because of Farrell like people think. That just isn’t how it works. The manager has very little to do with actually working with the pitchers. Farrell will probably help a bit more early on because of his history but outside of spring training the vast majority of his managerial duties will not include a lot of work with the pitchers. The name of Rick Peterson has been floated around and, like Lovullo, that would be a phenomenal hire.

    It will be interesting tomorrow during his press conference if he sheds any light on his coaching staff.

  2. Ryan — most of what you’re saying here I’m 100 percent on board with. I agree that Farrell is the MANAGER, not the pitching coach. The pitching coach should (and will) have the autonomy of managing his staff. Your point about the manager having very little to do with the pitchers is well-taken. At the same time, it is important not to de-emphasize Farrell’s perceived ability to correct guys like Jon Lester. So yes, he will not be involved in the day to day management of the pitchers like he was during his tenure as pitching coach, but he will have the opportunity to help Lester, Clay, etc get better.

    Peterson, Lovullo would make this guy real happy.

  3. Lester is the only one I think he can really help (not counting the new/young guys). Buck has been fine without Farrell and Bard may be a lost cause. Farrell, Peterson or any other pitching coach won’t magically find the 9mph he lost on his fastball. Dr. James Andrews on the other hand…

  4. “Clearly Torey Lovullo is coming to Boston. The question is if Boston can get Ausmus to leave the west coast for a bench coach job.” Gammons

    Don’t tease me, Peter.

  5. Lovullo hired. Good work. I’m not sure if there is a spot for Ausmus with TR as the BC.

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