It was only a matter of time. The Red Sox tandem of Terry Francona and John Farrell has been together since 2007 and over that span the Sox have won 1 World Series title and have a .579 winning percentage (375-273). This past season resulted in some ugly pitching stats for the Red Sox, but Farrell has to be given much of the credit for the development of young talent like Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Farrell has not been officially named the Toronto Blue Jays manager, but many people close with the negotiations feel he is the choice. Among the finalists for the job were Farrell’s Red Sox colleague DeMarlo Hale, Cleveland Indians 1st base coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Blue Jays 3rd base coach Brian Butterfield. It will be tough to see Farrell go, but a fresh start may be just what the Sox need.
Farrell is the logical choice for the Blue Jays job because of his extensive experience with young pitchers. The Blue Jays starting rotation has 4 guys 25 or younger and the elder statesman of the group is 28-year old Shaun Marcum. Farrell can bring out the best in young talent and guide them to a path of success, which scares the crap out of me. The Blue Jays finished with an 85-77 record this season, just 4 games behind the Sox and an extremely respectable record. If their young talent can gain some consistency, this team could jump into the mix for the AL East race over the next few years, making it a ridiculous 4-team race in the division. With Farrell’s intimate knowledge of Sox pitchers, he will have a huge leg-up in head-to-head contests and in a tight race, that could be the difference. In January of this year I wrote a profile of Farrell and I have the same feelings now.
I like John Farrell and wish him the best of luck in Toronto, but just not at the expense of the Red Sox. After a true roller-coaster season in 2010, Farrell heading north of the board may just be an opportunity for the Sox to reshape their coaching staff and push in a different direction. The team preached pitching and defense last off-season and even without the plethora of injuries, both the defense and pitching were inconsistent. With a fresh face working with the pitching staff comes fresh ideas and strategies for training and execution. Although Farrell will certainly be a loss, the Sox will be able to push in a new direction and attempt to return to their rightful place atop the AL East standings.
There are still a number of questions to be answered about the 2011 season, but one thing is for sure. The Red Sox are not going to settle for anything less than a post-season berth and need to bring in the right pieces (coaches and players) to get there, no matter what it takes.