When I contemplated writing this post, it was going to be about my skepticism over the hiring of John Farrell to be the next Red Sox manager. But I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to go into this new era with optimism, looking at the reasons this is a smart move, well done.
First of all, this happened quickly, just over two weeks after Bobby Valentine was fired. What a contrast to the protracted affair the Valentine hiring turned into! Farrell can get to work and help shape his own coaching staff, and prepare with Ben Cherington for the meetings upcoming once the Giants finish off the Tigers in the World Series.
Second, everyone was on board with the process. There was no meddling by ownership in this decision. Ben Cherington got the man he wanted. This should make for a much more effective relationship between the GM and his manager.
Third, while perhaps not the candidate with the most upside, John Farrell is the safest bet. I would have liked to see what Brad Ausmus would do with the opportunity, but there was a lot of risk to hiring a first time manager with no experience. Farrell has experience, and he has experience in Boston.
Fourth, the players seem to be embracing this hire and they are going on record saying so. That’s key. This kind of public buy-in will make it harder for them to complain or loaf later. (Or so I hope.)
Finally, the Sox gave Farrell a three-year contract. That’s important. That is an expression of confidence and commitment, which they did not give Bobby Valentine (who got just a two-year contract). I said at the time of the hiring of Bobby that the short-term contract was a sign of ambivalence which the players would smell. There are going to be no easy fixes for this team, and I suspect it won’t be until after next season that the Sox begin to be relevant again. Knowing Farrell is here to stay may help speed the process by just a wee bit.