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Is Farrell the Right Man for the Job?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

 

New Red Sox manager John Farrell

Now that the worst kept secret in Boston – the hiring of John Farrell by the Red Sox – has been made public, there is only one question: was this the right hire by the organization?

Ultimately, time will tell if bringing Farrell back to Boston was the right decision.  However, there are good arguments to be made on either side.

On the plus side, Farrell represents a known commodity in Boston.  He not only has a familiarity with the organization, its fans, the media that covers the team and the city, he also has first hand knowledge of many of the team’s pitchers.

As pitching coach for the Red Sox under Terry Francona, pitchers like Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard all enjoyed their best years.  Will Farrell be able to get the most out of these and other arms within the organization?  That’s the hope.

In theory, many of the aforementioned pitchers and other players in the Red Sox clubhouse should be very happy to have Farrell back.  By all accounts, he was well-liked and well-respected while he was in Boston and it was also painfully obvious how much many of the players disliked Bobby Valentine.

In fact, Lester took to Twitter once he found out that Farrell’s hire was official.  Lester tweeted, “Welcome back John!!  Can’t wait to get back to work!! #RedSox.”
Under Farrell, Lester went 61-25 with a 3.55 ERA.  Following his departure, Lester was a pedestrian 24-23 with a 4.17 ERA.

But there is also a potential downside to bringing Farrell back. 

First off, his record as manager in Toronto over the last two seasons was nothing to write home about.  After an 81-81 campaign in 2011, Farrell’s Blue Jays went 73-89 which was just slightly better than the 69-93 debacle that was the 2012 Red Sox season.

Ever hear of the Peter Principle?  It’s where people get elevated to their level of incompetence.  There’s no question that Farrell is a very capable pitching coach, but is he a good manager?  We will find out.

The bottom line is that nobody really knows whether or not this was a good hire by Boston.

Was anyone celebrating when the Red Sox hired Terry Francona prior to the 2004 season?  No.  How about when the Yankees hired Joe Torre back in 1996?  Not a chance!

Both of those managers had losing records before arriving in Boston and New York, respectively yet they turned out to be the perfect fit in both instances winning a combined 6 World Championships between the two of them.

The one interesting thing to note is that Farrell’s hire appears to be more on GM Ben Cherington’s terms than the decision to hire Bobby Valentine. It is widely believed that Valentine was Larry Lucchino’s choice, despite the protestations of Cherington. 

Now Cherington has his man in place, which means that the clock will be ticking on his tenure as GM to turn things around sooner rather than later or else the organization may be looking for his replacement too.

 

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