Why John Farrell Is A Good Hire For The Red Sox
John Farrell was introduced as the new manager of the Boston Red Sox today. The hiring has been met with a mixed reaction among Red Sox Nation. It’s a bit surprising to me because I would have assumed that if this news had come down last year that Boston would have been pretty excited about the hire. I think if nothing else it shows just how much the decisions by the Red Sox brass over the course of the past 2 years has jaded the fan base. Let me try and cheer you up. John Farrell was a good hire and is going to make a great Red Sox manager.
Look, I know Farrell’s results were in Toronto were nothing to write home about. he stepped into a rebuilding situation up there and went 81-81 in his 1st season but regressed to 73-89 in year 2. He had a lot of injuries on a young team and it was too much to overcome. The Blue Jays lacked clubhouse leaders outside of Jose Bautista who was injured for much of the second half of the season. He was a lame duck coach who had already expressed interest in jumping ship to Boston where Bobby Valentine had written his future off by the trading deadline. Farrell was eager to jump back into Boston and carry over the success that his mentor Terry Francona left behind when he was unceremoniously dumped following the 2011 season. Farrell admitted that he would have never left if he knew the path that things would go down.
So now here he is, eager to right the ship. He has a strong relationship with the core of the team – Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Dustin Pedroia and presumably a returning David Ortiz. He worked well with the young pitchers in the Cleveland system when he was an instructor there and then again in Boston when he helped Lester and Buchholz launch their careers. He will now get to work with young pitchers Felix Doubront, Junichi Tazawa, Rubby De La Rosa, and Matt Barnes among others. He will also try to rebuild a clubhouse culture that has been lost since the end of Terry Francona’s regime. He has full autonomy to pick his coaching staff and looks to be bringing in former Pawtucket Red Sox manager Torey Lovullo as his bench coach. He will hire a solid X’s and O’s guy as his pitching coach. He will work lock-step with GM Ben Cherington who had Farrell in mind as his guy as soon as he took the Red Sox GM job after the 2011 season.
Is he Terry Francona? Maybe he is, maybe he’s not. I’ll tell you who he isn’t though – he’s not Bobby Valentine and let us all thank God for that. He also isn’t Julio Lugo. I’ve heard that brainless observation a few too many times and can only shake my head at it. Valentine’s motivation was driven by his ego but Farrell’s will be driven by the same thing that drove Francona’s – the desire to put together a group that will bring a winner back to Boston. He doesn’t care about the petty little stuff the media harps on that Bobby Valentine would get too often sidetracked with.
The #1 thing in sports is loyalty. You need to have it. Francona met his end in Boston when he lost the loyalty of the players. Valentine never knew how to command the loyalty and he never stood a chance here. John Farrell is ready to be loyal to his players and create a culture that will ensure that his players are loyal to him. There is a lot of work to be done, a WHOLE LOT of it to be precise, but if you don’t think that Farrell will be up to the task then I think you are in for a very pleasant surprise.