Unfortunately we'll know the answer to that question only after one year, or two, as we see how the managerial tenure of John Farrell turns out. It seems the Sox came to an agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays to procure the services of the Jays' manager, former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell.
Farrell, who received a three-year contract, will be introduced at Fenway Park on Monday or Tuesday.
The 50-year-old Farrell was the Red Sox pitching coach from 2007-10 before becoming the manager of the Blue Jays. Farrell was a modest 154-170 in two seasons, but the Red Sox believe he has the skills to lead the team back from its worst season in decades.
The Red Sox were 69-93 under Bobby Valentine, a season marked by underperformance, injuries, and controversy. Valentine’s style did not mesh well with general manager Ben Cherington, his coaching staff or with veteran players grown accustomed to the protective ways of former manager Terry Francona....
The Red Sox formally interviewed Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale, Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, and Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, and were impressed with all four. But their focus was on Farrell from the beginning of the process.
Hiring Farrell from the Blue Jays is acceptable from the compensation standpoint, as the Sox won't be giving up too much. Mike Aviles is a terrific team player, who plays hard all the time and produces in the clutch at times, but his stats don't jolt you off the page. So there's that.
And I don't have the sense of dread I did when they hired Valentine. As I described him just before the hiring, in what was now a prescient post,
Just what the team needs, a self-promoting gadfly manager who has failed everywhere else.
Valentine's failures were legion. He lost the team early, lost more of them as time went on, opened his mouth in frequent and unfortunate ways, and proved not to be the "smartest man in baseball" when making moves on the diamond. His managing moves were often inexplicable. Pinch hitting for Iglesias with two strikes already on him? Seriously?
Looking at the list of the interviewees, I think I might have leaned toward three of the other four ahead of Farrell. Bringing back Tony Pena, a former Manager Of The Year in Kansas City, and after a brief tenure in New York, would have made sense. Brad Ausmus is widely regarded as sharp, and with a bright future in managing. Both are former catchers who understand pitchers, pitching, and calling a game, all vital to a winning team. DeMarlo Hale was with the Sox as a coach in various positions in the minors for about 9 years, then came back as a third base coach and bench coach for 5 more. As a result, he was with the team during Terry Francona's successes and also with the Orioles last year during their own resurrection.
Farrell's record in Toronto has not impressed. Toronto was 73-89 this year, four games better than the woeful Bostonians. The prior year his team was an even .500, 81-81. The pitching in Boston, after they finished first in pitching in 2007 winning the Series, steadily deteriorated under his watch. (On the other hand, it deteriorated even further without him, so there's that.)
I hope I'm wrong. I don't have the feeling of dread and catastrophic error that I did when Valentine was hired, but I would have rather seen a new face like an Ausmus, or a Ryne Sandberg or Sandy Alomar Jr. come in to settle the turmoil. When you're starting from an epic failure of a year, at 69-93, you can take a chance on a bright light in the distance, hoping that as it comes into focus it turns out to be a star.