The Red Sox have named John Farrell as their next manager. John Farrell was in charge of Boston’s pitching staff when the club won the World Series in 2007, and was sought for the team’s managerial opening before the Red Sox settled on Bobby Valentine.
Here’s a look at some of his career highlights.
Oklahoma is OK for Jersey Boy
Farrell was born in Monmouth Beach, a small town on the New Jersey shore. The son of a lobsterman, Farrell was first drafted out of high school by the A’s in 1980 but did not sign. He instead went to Oklahoma State where he compiled an 11-2 record with two saves and a 3.01 ERA his senior season, earning All Big-Eight Conference honors. The Indians selected Farrell for the second time in the 1984 draft and Farrell’s professional career began.
A starter is born in Cleveland
Farrell was a fixture in the Indians rotation from 1987-1990. The 6-foot-4-inch, 210-pounder went 14-10, with a 4.24 ERA and seven complete games in 1988 but was hampered by injuries for the remainder of his playing career, missing the entire 1991 and 1992 seasons with right elbow problems. Farrell signed with the Angels before heading back to Cleveland in 1995 and finishing his career with the Tigers in 1996. Farrell went 36-46 with a 4.56 ERA over parts of eight seasons.
Back to school
Once his playing days were behind him, Farrell immediately got back into the game by accepting a coaching job at Oklahoma State, completing his bachelor’s degree in 1996. With the Cowboys, Farrell instilled new disciplines and methods into the program and mentored 14 pitchers that were drafted or signed as free agents at the professional level, including righthander Scott Williamson, who earned National League Rookie of the Year honors with Cincinnati in 1999.
Farrell dives into player development
Farrell got back into the majors when he joined the Indians in 2001 as the Director of Player Development, including overseeing the organization’s six minor league affiliates and the Latin American programs in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. The Indians soon became to be known for its fast-track prospects and the Indians were named the top farm system by Baseball America in 2003. Farrell stayed in that position through the 2006 season.
Francona gets his man
When Terry Francona took the reigns in Boston in 2004, he inherited Dave Wallace as his pitching coach. Wallace was let go after the 2006 season after it was suspected he and Francona weren’t on the same page. Farrell was hired by Francona. The two were teammates in Cleveland in 1988.
Pitching blossoms under Farrell in Boston
For the most part, Farrell enjoyed great success and received accolades all around for developing the Red Sox pitching staff during his four seasons in Boston. Under Farrell’s watch in 2007, Josh Beckett had his best season in Boston and Jon Lester rose to stardom as the club finished first in the AL with a 3.87 ERA and went on to capture their second World Series title in four years. The club’s 1,230 strikeouts in 2009 ranked second in the AL and marked the second-best season total in franchise history In 2010, Lester went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA and Clay Buchholz enjoyed his best season with a 17-7 record and a 2.33.
Farrell’s run in Boston not a complete success story
Josh Beckett went 6-6 with a 5.78 ERA in 2010. Jonathan Papelbon’s ERA rose to 3.90 in 2010.
He was the first choice after Francona in 2011
When Terry Francona and the Red Sox parted ways after the collapse of 2011, it was widely reported that Farrell’s name was on the top of the wish list to take he helm in Boston. But Farrell was just one year into his three-year deal with Toronto and the Blue Jays changed their policy of allowing employees to leave for a lateral move to prevent Farrell from joining the Red Sox without negotiating compensation. The cost was reported to have been Clay Buchholz. Farrell ended up staying with the Jays, and Bobby Valentine became the 45th manager of the Red Sox.
Farrell takes over in Toronto
Farrell took over for Cito Gaston and was named the 12th manager of the Blue Jays in October 2010, beating out Sandy Alomar Jr. among others. Farrell would lead the club to an 81-81 record and a fourth-place finish in the AL East in his rookie year. He would leave Toronto after going 154-170 in two seasons. This past season, the Jays were 73-89 — their worst record since 2004.
Slur stirs controversy
Farrell found himself in the thick of an off-field controversy when shortstop Yunel Escobar was caught taking the field with a homophobic slur written in Spanish on an eyeblack patch. Escobar was suspended for three games and Farrell said at the time that it went unnoticed, giving more credence to the Jays reputation as an undisciplined ballclub and raised questions about the attitude of some of the young players.
Club culture questioned by veteran
Veteran shortstop Omar Vizquel was the most vocal to question Farrell’s methods in 2012. “It’s part of the inexperience. If you make mistakes and nobody says anything about it — they just let it go — we’re going to keep making the same mistakes over and over again,’’ the 45-year-old Vizquel said in September. “We have to stand up and say something right after that mistake happened. We have to talk about it at meetings. We have to address it in a big way in the clubhouse. Sometimes you have to punish players because they’re making the same mistakes over and over again.’’ Vizquel later apologized for his comments in a team meeting but stuck by his sentiments while Farrell was mildly critical of the veteran, saying he was not present for practice sessions that stressed fundamentals. Adam Lind and Jason Frasor also spoke out on how the team was functioning.
Farrell under fire in Toronto
Farrell has come under widespread criticism for the team’s performance in his first two seasons. The Jays have been sloppy and mistake-prone in the field and on the bases, have had leadership and clubhouse issues, the pitching staff’s performance — a perceived strong suit of Farrell — has deteriorated under his watch. Young hurlers Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil have digressed and the Jays had a 4.22 ERA in 2010 that rose to 4.32 in 2011, and 4.64 in 2012 under Farrell.