The long-speculated American League East managerial shakeup has arrived: John Farrell is the new manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Farrell, who had managed the division rival Toronto Blue Jays for the past two seasons, has agreed to a three-year contract with the Red Sox that includes an option for 2016.
"I’m extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox and to Boston," Farrell said in a statement. "I love this organization. It’s a great franchise in a special city and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to reward their faith in us."
The Red Sox hope the hiring of the thoughtful Farrell will be the first step toward repairing a clubhouse that fell into disarray during Bobby Valentine’s tumultuous season at Fenway Park. Farrell, a popular pitching coach during the tenure of former manager Terry Francona, was the organization’s top choice after Francona was dismissed one year ago, but the Blue Jays wouldn’t let him out of his contract
Farrell is seen as a figure who can unite the numerous factions that developed within the Red Sox organization over the past 14 months — ownership, front office, coaches and players. Farrell already has a strong relationship with current general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen, which should make for an easy transition. That’s precisely what the Red Sox need, following a 93-loss season that was their worst since 1965.
Since Farrell had another year remaining on his contract with the Blue Jays, the Red Sox had to send a player to Toronto as compensation. That player is infielder Mike Aviles, who posted a .663 OPS this season while playing 128 games at shortstop for Boston. While Aviles is viewed by many as a utility player, his arrival could signal the departure of Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar, who has dwindling support within the organization due to his indifferent play this year and use of a homophobic slur on his eye black late in the season.
Of course, the Blue Jays’ plan for the shortstop position will be decided by their new field manager. Their search for one will begin immediately. Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the Cleveland Indians’ manager late in the season, is one possible candidate for the job. Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar – Sandy’s brother – works as a special assistant for the organization. The market for Sandy Alomar could intensify quickly, since the Colorado Rockies also have interest in hiring him
When the Jays hired Farrell after the 2010 season, other candidates included DeMarlo Hale, Dave Martinez and Rob Thomson, who are highly regarded coaches for the division rival Orioles, Rays and Yankees, respectively. Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos also could interview two former major-league catchers currently managing in the Jays’ farm system, Sal Fasano and Mike Redmond
The Red Sox also received right-hander David Carpenter from the Blue Jays to complete the transaction. Carpenter was acquired by the Blues Jays from the Houston Astros in July. He posted an 0-2 record with an 8.07 ERA in 33 games with Houston and Toronto in 2012.
Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com first reported Farrell’s hiring late Saturday night.