The Boston Red Sox hired John Farrell as their next manager, the team announced Sunday afternoon. It is a three-year deal.
"I'm extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox and to Boston," Farrell said via a team news release. "I love this organization. It's a great franchise in a special city and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to reward their faith in us."
Farrell, Boston's former pitching coach, had one year remaining on his contract as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.
"We are thrilled to name John Farrell as our new manager," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said in a statement. "John has been a major league pitcher, front office executive, coach, and manager. His broad set of experiences, and exceptional leadership skills, make him the ideal person to lead our team. I have known him in various capacities throughout my career, and I hold him in the highest regard as a baseball man and as a person."
Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester wasn't waiting.
"Welcome back John!!" Lester tweeted Sunday morning. "Can't wait to get back to work!!"
Aviles also issued a statement via Twitter on Sunday.
"Wanna thank #RedSoxNation for all the support, great city, team and fans!" Aviles posted on the social media site. "Loved my time there but now it's time for a new chapter! #gojays"
The Red Sox formally interviewed four candidates -- Los Angeles Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach, New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, San Diego Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus and Baltimore Orioles third-base coach DeMarlo Hale -- to replace Bobby Valentine, but Farrell had been "at the top of their list" from the start, a team source told ESPNBoston.com earlier this month.
Farrell served as the Red Sox's pitching coach from 2007 through 2010.
The Red Sox eventually hired Valentine, then fired him the day after finishing their worst season (69-93) in more than four decades.
Farrell Knows Red Sox Well
The Red Sox's pitching staff finished with the third-worst ERA (4.70) in the AL this past season. Will new manager John Farrell help? Well, with Farrell as the team's pitching coach from 2007-10, Red Sox pitchers fared considerably better. Here's a look:
Category Totals AL Rank Strikeouts 4,771 1st Opp BA .254 1st Shutouts 49 1st ERA 4.11 3rd -- ESPN Stats & Information
The Blue Jays chose Farrell to succeed the retired Cito Gaston in October 2010, signing him to a three-year contract. Farrell led the Blue Jays to an 81-81 record in his first season, but the team was 16 games under .500 (73-89) this past season, finishing only better than the Red Sox in the AL East.
Farrell spent eight seasons pitching in the majors, winning a career-high 14 games for the Indians in 1988, before retiring after the 1996 season.
He spent five years as assistant coach/pitching and recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, Oklahoma State. He then returned to the Indians in 2001, serving as the team's player development director for five years before joining the Red Sox.
Even before the announcement, news of the deal trickled out over Twitter, where Blue Jays reliever Casey Janssen wrote: "Want to wish our skipper the best in Boston, good luck!"Information from ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and Gordon Edes and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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