John Farrell eager, ready to manage troublesome Red Sox
For anyone who had nothing to do around noon today, there was a highly exciting press conference in which John Farrell was formally introduced as the new manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Okay, so the press conference wasn’t too exciting. GM Ben Cherington was the only member of the Red Sox brass to be present alongside Farrell (clearly, this is his man), and nothing too shocking was said, but there were some interesting quotes from the approximately 40 minutes of Q&A time with the new bench boss.
One of the most compelling questions asked of Farrell was why any man in his right mind would want to come attempt to fix this miserable Red Sox team.
“I think that’s one of the drawing cards to this position,” Farrell said of taking on one of the most drama-filled clubhouses in the big leagues. “This is arguably the best place in the game. If there weren’t recent challenges, I probably wouldn’t be sitting there. … This is a place that I would love to take on the challenge. It’s an incredible city. It’s an incredible baseball environment. This is an organization that is a first-class group of people.”
If anything, this statement shows that Farrell is fearless. That he’s excited to take on a clubhouse that was called toxic and contentious, that was full of players disrespecting their manager and coaching staff over the last two years, that had a player (Alfredo Aceves) suspended for throwing a temper tantrum, well, hats off to him. Good luck, John.
To reinforce his faith in this team, Farrell later added, “I still think there’s a very good core group of players here.”
Dustin Pedroia is a great player, but he’s recovering from an array of injuries. David Ortiz can be a quality hitter. Jacoby Ellsbury is hit-or-miss, but when he’s healthy, he has the potential to be an MVP-caliber man. Other than that, we’re a little confused as to who makes up the “very good core group of players.”
Perhaps it’s good to be optimistic?
It looks like Farrell is already getting going on improving the team. One of the most frustrating quotes of the press conference came in a discussion about starting pitching. Farrell was asked if he had noticed any changes in pitchers he worked with when he was the Red Sox pitching coach, and he said something quite interesting about Jon Lester.
“There were some very obvious things with Jon that he and I already talked about that you saw in his delivery that he drifted into and that might have affected his overall consistency,” Farrell said.
Excuse me. Very obvious? If it was very obvious, why hadn’t any pitching coach or bullpen coach on the Red Sox staff noticed? Farrell is probably right – he did great things with the pitchers when he was in Boston, so basically, the Red Sox coaching staff was too inept this season to fix what was an obvious issue.
Lester was supposed to be an ace for the Red Sox, but instead he went 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 2012. This is the same pitcher who won at least 15 games in each of his previous major league seasons, the same pitcher who never had a losing record until this year. The reason for that record was obvious?
It’s another frustrating punctuation mark on a frustrating season.
So what did we learn from Farrell’s introductory press conference? Well, he’s a brave man who genuinely seems to understand the Boston market and want to be in Boston, which is something. He’ll be a player’s manager, but he insisted on there being a line as to how much input and what type of behavior he’ll allow from his players. And, if nothing else, he should help Jon Lester have a better year in 2013.