Farrell discusses an awkward topic

Funny how timing can be. With the rampant speculation about Bobby Valentine’s future with the Red Sox, what better time for John Farrell and the Blue Jays to come to town?

It is a poorly-kept secret that Farrell was likely the top choice to succeed Terry Francona as Boston’s manager following last season, but the Blue Jays had no interest in freeing him from his contract.

Maybe things have changed a little a year later. The Blue Jays, much like the Red Sox, are having an unsuccessful season in which they’ve been ravaged by injuries. Now, Farrell has just one season left on his contract.

If the Red Sox decide that Valentine — who also has one year left on his contract — isn’t their manager beyond this season, you’d like to think a deal could be worked out with Toronto for Farrell.

Anyway, with limbo being the obvious way to describe the current situation, here are some thoughts from Farrell:

“There’s a lot of speculation, obviously, but as I said last week in Toronto. I’m the manager of the Blue Jays. This is where my focus and commitment is. I’m under contract. That’s obvious,” Farrell said. “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. At the same time, we’ve dealt with a lot of challenges ourselves. I can understand the natural connection, because I’ve worked here in the past, but my focus is clearly with the Blue Jays.”

“I  don’t look at other situations, because my focus is here. We’ve got a lot of challenges ourselves with getting guys back on the field. I’ll say this – knowing what the Red Sox have gone through, with the amount of players they’ve lost to injury, I can empathize with Bobby and having to deal with a lot of changes to the roster. And because of that change, you’re always trying to filter in new guys and get an understanding of what their capabilities are and how you can best utilize them to win a ballgame.

Did Farrell expect there to be such a buzz surrounding his latest return to Boston? “I don’t know that you can fully anticipate anything. You understand there are articles written, there’s things that are out there. With respect to everyone involved, my focus is right here in this dugout in this uniform.

If Farrell stayed in Toronto, would he want assurances beyond next season, asked Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston?

“Gordon, you’re putting the cart way before the horse with that. My contract is through 2013. My approach day in and day out doesn’t hinge upon my status. My focus and attention is today, right here. “

Boston vs. Toronto? “Any place is going to have its own uniqueness to it. Managing is an honor. It’s a challenge at the same time. Different positions have different sets of challenges that are connected to them. Regardless of where you are, the focus remains on your task and duties at hand and doing the best job that you’re capable of at the time and that’s my focus right now, the challenge the Blue Jays have to face.

On what Terry Francona accomplished. “Having been in that dugout for four years, you do get the opportunity and the privilege to see it firsthand. He was a very successful manager, balanced a lot of different things both inside and out, he did a very good job. The history and the record speaks to that.”

“Through it all, through the ups and downs along the way, the one thing Tito always talked about was be true to yourself. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you did what you felt was the right thing to do, and that being the players come first, as long as you keep the players first in your decision-making and your thoughts toward them individually, you’re probably guided in the right direction to the right thing.”

Obviously, managers in Boston are under tremendous scrutiny. “I’ve never managed in Boston. I’ve only managed in one place, and that’s right here in Toronto. Having worked in Boston, sure, there’s a tremendous fan base that’s very passionate, the expectations are very high, but as a competitor, that’s what you aspire to do and be involved in.”

More on empathizing with Bobby V.

“As a manager, yes. We’ve had a lot of the same situations unfold, and it’s not easy. Its definitely not easy. We come in here today with a rotation that’s mapped out, and yet you come into the ballpark, you’re waiting for the next phone call, and in this case it’s J.A. Happ is out for the year. Not are you on Plan A or B; right now both teams are on Plan T or U. That’s where we’re at.”

How much does Farrell enjoy managing?  “I love it. It’s an honor to be in the position entrusted with the team, to run a team at field level, and that’s never taken lightly. I can’t wait to get to the ballpark every day.”

Obviously, Farrell still has ties in the Red Sox organization.

“I had the fortunate ability to work closely with guys that I respect and guys that we have history even prior to working here in Boston, whether it was Mike Hazen and I running the farm system in Cleveland. Not only are they professional colleagues, on some level they became personal friends. We had success, we shared  a lot of challenges along the way. That’s what you would hope would take place having worked for a number of years in one place or another.”

5 Comments

Why would the Red Sox want John Farrell as their manager? The bullpen went progressively backwards when he was pitching coach. yes he probably helped Lester and Buchholz develop. And look how he has done in Toronto. He was .500 his first season and is headed for sub .500 in his second season. He might be great on a team fat with talent like Tito was, but he doesn’t yet appear to know how to coach higher performance out of medium talent players.

As I sit here remembering the Yankees uninspired play aginst the Rays in the last game last year…..Longoria running around the bases after ending that game in extra innings…I can only hope the Sox can repay that favor this year. It has already started. I hope they sweep the Yankees the rest of the way and do what ever against the Rays and Orioles. Horrible thing to say….but I was very bitter last year as I watched the Sox lose to the Orioles and my buddy…a Yankee fan was needling me as the Yankees pulled starter after starter out of that last game as the game went on against the Rays. Now he is sweating it out and afraid it will be the Sox who have a major role in the possibility of watching his Yanks drop out of first place in the East….and….drop out of the final playoff spot. Panic has set in and for once it’s not the Sox fans. Yep…the Sox put themselves to be in that position last year…hoping for a deja vu from the Yanks. At least I have a reason to watch the games now!!!!! Go Sox….and play those Yankees HARD!!!!!!!

Farrell as manager and Varitek as bench coach would be the perfect situation.

http://www.thepeskypole.net

Has anyone thought about bringing Francona back? Up until Sept 2011 he was considered one of the best managers in baseball. His teams were always in the hunt & he seemed to have a great rapport with all the players…hell even the tough Boston media liked him. I love to see Tito back at the helm!

I saw Gomes play a lot at Cincinnati, and he has a real problem with the curveball, especially with two strikes. Not somebody I would want at the plate in the 9th inning.

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