Red Sox introduce John Farrell
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox on Tuesday officially introduced John Farrell as the 46th manager in team history at a news conference at Fenway Park.
"His integrity, leadership skills, intelligence are second to none and make him the right person for this job," general manager Ben Cherington said.
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Red Sox manager John Farrell weighs in on what returning to Boston is like, his relationship with the players, the state of his team's roster, the World Series and more.
The Red Sox on Saturday came to terms with Farrell on a three-year contract after completing compensation negotiations with Farrell's former employer, Toronto Blue Jays, in which the Red Sox sent shortstop Mike Aviles to the Jays for journeyman reliever David Carpenter.
"It is very much a privilege," Farrell said Tuesday. "I am honored and humbled to be standing here today."
This will be Farrell's second stint with the Red Sox. He was the team's pitching coach from 2007 to 2010.
In his comments to reporters, Farrell stressed that a Red Sox team that was perceived as fractured this season would speak with "one voice" under his leadership and that trust would be paramount. He said he already has begun to re-establish relationships and would continue to do so as one of his first tasks, along with filling out his coaching staff.
"Yes, there are some relationships still existing with some of the players here but by no means will that be taken for granted," Farrell said. "There's familiarity. There's an understanding of maybe the person I am and certainly who they are. But it'll be my approach go back in -- that's already started with conversations and a sit-down with David (Ortiz) here already earlier today -- to start to earn that trust and re-establish all those relationships."
That wasn't the case last season when Bobby Valentine had a cool relationship with some coaches, publicly criticized Kevin Youkilis before he was traded to the Chicago White Sox and was the target of players' complaints at a meeting they had with team officials.
The Red Sox also were hurt by numerous injuries and management finally gave up its postseason hopes when it traded Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 25. That left Valentine with starting lineups in September that looked better suited to their Triple-A team at Pawtucket.
"I can't speak to what the Red Sox clubhouse was last year," Farrell said. "I think it's important that we communicate consistently to the players, we outline expectations and we have to hold players accountable to what we're trying to get done.
"It's got to be a positive place that they want to come to every single day."
When asked why this Red Sox job was attractive to him, he pointed to the significance of baseball to the region.
"I think Boston, in my mind, and it may be debatable across the country, this is the epicenter of the game," he said. "To come in and have at least four years of experience previous, not having sat in this seat, but been close to it to see the demands of the position, the passion of this region, the energy that is in this ballpark every single night. I think to a certain extent that energy and what people expect holds our players accountable with the effort that they put out every single night."
Farrell also stressed the importance of pitching, particularly starting pitching, and said he would be an aggressive manager on the basepaths and in other areas.
"We are extremely happy to have John Farrell back in our organization," Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement released in advance of the introductory news conference. "Ben Cherington and John will form a very strong partnership in leading this club back to where it needs to be. John knows our club and division well. His baseball knowledge is unsurpassed and his background is diverse and rich. John is an articulate leader who has always had the respect of everyone who dealt with him at the Boston Red Sox."
Farrell, who in 2007, his first year in Boston, won a World Series ring, inherits a team that lost 93 games and finished in last place for only the second time in the past 80 years. Valentine was fired as manager a day after the season ended after serving just one season.
The Red Sox interviewed four other candidates for the position before deciding on Farrell: Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach, Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus and Orioles third-base coach DeMarlo Hale. Like Farrell, Hale had been a member of Terry Francona's coaching staff in Boston.
"Ben Cherington led a thoughtful, thorough and detailed process," team chairman Tom Werner said in a statement. "We examined some excellent candidates, any one of whom will be a good manager. With John Farrell, we have someone with a great track record in our organization, someone who has great relationships in our organization. We believe he will play a key role in restoring our club to the levels of success we have enjoyed over the past decade. We are elated to have him back."
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Farrell told him of his desire to return to Boston a few days after the end of the regular season.
"This was a dream job for him, an opportunity he really wanted to pursue,'' Anthopoulos said in a conference call with reporters Sunday afternoon.
When he spoke with Farrell, Anthopoulos said, Toronto had not yet heard from the Red Sox, and he told Farrell that if the Red Sox didn't ask for permission within a few days, the Jays could not wait and that he was prepared to put "it to bed.''
But a couple of days later, Anthopoulos said, Henry called Blue Jays CEO Paul Beeston, setting the process in motion, confirming a report by ESPNBoston.com. Compensation talks took place primarily on the ownership level, Anthopoulos said.
"John Farrell has so many attributes that we admire. He gets it. He is a most impressive interview -- open, honest and articulate," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said in a statement Tuesday. "We did not know if we could pry him loose from the Blue Jays, but discussions were amicable, and we were able to hammer out an agreement with them and with him, and now we are eager to continue our efforts to construct this club for next season and beyond."
It is the seventh time in major league history that one team has traded for a manager while he was under contract to another, the Red Sox said. Last year, the Miami Marlins obtained Ozzie Guillen from the Chicago White Sox in a deal that included three players.
The Red Sox's pitching staff finished with the third-worst ERA (4.70) in the American League this season, but it had thrived under Farrell. From 2007 to 2010, Sox pitchers ranked first in the AL in strikeouts (4,771) and opponents' batting average (.254) and was third in ERA (4.11).
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"John has a great combination of skills, experience and leadership ability," Cherington said in a statement Tuesday. "He's a pure baseball guy, with the ability to develop relationships across a broad spectrum. We look forward to working with him to build the next great Red Sox team."
Farrell's coaching staff began to take shape Tuesday; a baseball source revealed the Red Sox will hire Torey Lovullo as bench coach.
Lovullo, who managed with the Red Sox at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2010, had joined Farrell in Toronto as his first-base coach when Farrell took the managerial job there.
The Red Sox also are hoping bullpen coach Gary Tuck will return to that role next season, the source said. Tuck has an option year in his contract for 2013 and had said he would return "if the situation is good for me."
Tuck and Farrell enjoyed a close relationship when Farrell was the pitching coach in Boston, but Tuck also is dealing with an illness in his family, so that could be a factor in his decision.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes, Joe McDonald and The Associated Press was used in this report.