Farrell returns; so does Lovullo
Just as everyone was arriving to the ballpark for Game Number 162, the Red Sox announced that John Farrell will return as manager in 2016. Torey Lovullo signed a new two-year deal to stay on as bench coach, and continue to lend support as Farrell battles back from Stage 1 lymphona.
Here was the reaction of former Red Sox manager Terry Francona:
“I actually didn’t know it needed to be news. I really didn’t. So I’m not sure how to react because I didn’t know that it necessarily needed to be news. I guess I always figured he would. I’ve been so fixated on him as a friend and what he’s going through that I’ve really never thought about it. I never even thought to ask him. In all the conversations, I never thought to ask him. I guess as much as we all care about baseball, when that enters into it, I really never thought to even bring it up.”
Here was the reaction of Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia:
“That’s the thought the players had all along. We’re hoping that John recovers what he’s going through and can’t wait to get him back. It’s going to be good to have John back healthy and around the guys again. That’s’ everyone’s first concern, health. We want him to be back to normal and be fine. If he is, he’s obviously going to be our manager.”
Here was the reaction of Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski:
“John’s case, and have been consistent and meaningful in his situation that I told him all along that he needs to be healthy, first and foremost. He finished his last chemo treatments, this round, this past week. At some point, we needed to move forward and kind of set where we’re going into the future. I called John yesterday and when we’ve had conversations, all of our conversations that we’ve had, which hasn’t been as numerous as would normally be the case if he was healthy of course, have always been towards 2016. But I never really gave him that 100 percent that, I had always given him the indication, but needed to be in a position where it basically closed that loop. Yesterday, I called him back and said we’re ready to step forward to do this. ”
“The problem with it is the process of his health is still first and foremost. All indications are good. He will have some tests again in about three weeks to see where he stands at that point so in his case it’s a situation where in three weeks he’ll have a little bit better feel. But right now, he feels as if he will be OK for next year to move forward. The doctors have given that indication. The difficulty becomes, and I’m not an expert on this, so I cannot claim to give you any special insight, other than what doctors have told me a couple of times that I’ve talked to people, when you go through what John is going through, which is of course, major, the feelings are that he will be in a spot where 97 percent of the time you come through from a health perspective on this.
“Sometimes you don’t feel up to 100 percent for three to six months, is what people tell me. I do know that. I’m just telling you what the doctors have told me. I also think that the commitment’s made to John, he’ll be our manager for 2016, he should be fine. But I also want to make sure, how do we protect ourselves in case when you put six months, and again, I’m not sure it’s going to be six months, I hope it’s three months, and if it’s three months, the time frame works out well. But what happens if it’s six months? We’re already into the start of next season. You’re also in a position where you start talking about spring training, preparation for Spring Training, it’s a great time of year but it also can be a grueling time of year and I don’t want that extra stress on him to feel that I’ve got to be ready, I’ve got to be ready.
“Trying to come up with what ideally would be a fallback plan if he just wasn’t quite up to par. Thought long and hard about it. Have been very impressed of course with Torey and Torey’s done a great job for us. I don’t think he could have handled himself any better than what he has, not only running the club in John’s absence, taking control, but also always giving the proper authority to John and staying in contact with John, knowing it’s John’s team. So I had a thought that perhaps this would be a way that it would work, to protect ourselves. I didn’t know how Torey would feel about it. I ran it through John Henry and Tom Werner a couple of weeks ago my thought processes and how it would work in approaching Torey about staying on board to see if he’d be willing to do that. Offered him the two-year contract, but it wasn’t about that with Torey. It was really a situation where he thought about the scenario. He’s very committed to the Red Sox organization, very committed to John, so he has given up his ability to interview for next year as a manager. He made that commitment to the organization. We’re very thankful for what he has done. I think it’s a situation where hopefully we’re protected as well as we possibly can. Hopefully John’s back, he’s feeling great, he’s ready to go. If for some reason, he’s a little slower to come back or not 100 percent, his trusted right-hand, lieutenant is there for him to help him at that point, so that’s really how we went with it.”
Here was the reaction of Torey Lovullo on going back to his bench role, but being available in case John Farrell still isn’t feeling 100 percent:
“Like I said, I’m a processor, so I got as much information as I possibly could and I thought about a lot of things. That was one of the main reasons, is that I want to see that process through. I want to be here for John, I want to assist John in any way I possibly can, and I want to make sure it lines up the way it’s supposed to line up before I ran out on him, is how I’m looking at it.”
Here is Dombrowski’s reaction on if things could become awkward if the Red Sox get off to a slow start under Farrell, given Lovullo’s success as interim manager.
“Not really, for the simple fact that he’s John’s guy. John is the one who brought him on board. He’s his closest confidant. That’s his bench coach. I think what ends up happening is, there’s always speculation in today’s world about what takes place if the club is not playing well. Hopefully that won’t be the case. Hopefully the club will play well. But it’s a situation – I can’t think of a situation where he’d be more comfortable with someone. That’s John’s guy.”
Here is Lovullo’s reaction on being secure enough in himself to feel comfortable passing on managerial openings that might arise in the coming days.
“I’ve learned that being a major-league manager is all about timing and opportunity. They don’t come up all the time. Whether this enhances my ability to manage one day or not is out of my control, as it has been since Day One. I’m just going to continue doing my thing the way I know how, and the right situation will pop up if it’s supposed to happen. I’m a big believer in timing. We’ll see what happens once things move in the direction that I could possibly correspond with a team. For right now, for one year, it’s not going to be a possibility.”