Farrell has been billed as the wayward starter whisperer, the man who can get Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz back on the righteous path of pitching. But Blue Jays pitchers were 26th in ERA last year (4.64), one spot ahead of the Dead Sox (4.70).
Pitching coaches don’t always make the best managers, but Farrell has a background in player development as well. He already gets high marks for the way he handled Alfredo Aceves’s passive-aggressive protest early in spring training.
It probably won’t be fair to judge Farrell on this season, which is a game of bridge. But “patience” and “Red Sox manager” remain antithetical notions, kind of like “Red Sox” and “scrappy underdogs.”
5. Jay Heaps, Revolution — The former Revolution defender took over for Steve Nicol last season and undertook a rebuilding project with Foxborough’s Other Football Team. The Revolution went 9-17-8 and endured a franchise-worst 10-game winless streak.
Not even José Mourinho could have turned around the Revs, winners of five games in 2011, in one season. Still, the 36-year-old Heaps is unproven. He does know what great coaching looks like though, having played three-plus seasons of basketball at Duke for Mike Krzyzewski.