This past week John Farrell was named as the 46th manager of the Boston Red Sox. In a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, the former pitching coach was signed to a three-year contract. Alongside him came RHP David Carpenter, in exchange for Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles. Farrell by no means was an easy acquisition. The deal took nine days and only ended when Boston finally agreed to give up Aviles. The relationships that Farrell fostered while in Boston, and has maintained since, may just prove to be worth the work it took to get him.
In contrast, the hiring of Bobby Valentine a year ago left a lot of people uneasy about how this season would go. An already bruised team was going to need someone to pull them back together. It is pretty clear Valentine’s outsider opinions and judgments were not going to make the cut.
The 2012 season was rough on the Red Sox, and rough on its fans. As a part of BoSox nation I have come to accept heartbreak and loss through the years. We went decades without a World Series win and then once upon a time won two in four years. This season not only rendered game losses but pivotal player losses as well. That extra factor did not help soothe the realization that this season would also mark the third in a row without a playoff visit.
On the one hand, I can see how great the change for Kevin Youkilis was this season. He needed a fresh start on a team that would value him and his talent. On the other hand, I was saddened to lose such a big part of that 2007 World Series team. Added to that, we had to watch the Dodgers inherit the heart of our starting lineup with Josh Beckett. Not to be mistaken, I fully believe the moves that were made will prove to be positive next season. It does not make the loss any easier for an already hurting ball club though.
The biggest positive take away is that Boston now has a manager that has worked with this team before, that knows what needs to be done, and understands that the next season is going to take a lot of work. As a fan, and a baseball lover to the core, I feel hopeful about what Farrell can do. He has worked with this team and he knows the passion that the Red Sox emanate. I think he is realistic about expectations and above all I think he will give this ball club the respect it deserves. Something I’m not sure Bobby Valentine knew how to do.
Even Terry Francona has given his blessing, urging Farrell to take the position. And Red Sox fans are keeping their fingers crossed that 2013 brings us a visit to the postseason. And if we are really lucky, a World Series trip too.