The Boston Red Sox will introduce John Farrell today at noon at Fenway Park. He becomes the 46th manager in the club’s 112-year history.
Late Saturday night, the Red Sox reached an agreement with Farrell on a three-year contract that runs through 2015. As compensation to the Blue Jays, to whom Farrell was under contract through 2013, the Red Sox sent shortstop Mike Aviles and received in return right-handed pitcher David Carpenter. The Red Sox sought and received permission from Toronto to talk directly to Farrell, and the transaction agreed upon by both clubs was contingent upon the Red Sox reaching an agreement with Farrell for their managerial position. Farrell is the seventh manager in major league history acquired by one club while under contract to another.
Farrell, 50, was the Red Sox’ pitching coach from 2007-10, a period in which the staff held opponents to an American League-low .254 batting average and led the league in strikeouts (4,771). In his first year with the Red Sox, the club won the 2007 World Series, and they reached the postseason each of his first three seasons in Boston.
“We are extremely happy to have John Farrell back in our organization,” said Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry. “Ben Cherington and John will form a very strong partnership in leading this club back to where it needs to be. John knows our club and division well. His baseball knowledge is unsurpassed and his background is diverse and rich. John is an articulate leader who has always had the respect of everyone who dealt with him at the Boston Red Sox.”
“Ben Cherington led a thoughtful, thorough, and detailed process,” said Chairman Tom Werner. “We examined some excellent candidates, any one of whom will be a good manager. With John Farrell, we have someone with a great track record in our organization, someone who has great relationships in our organization. We believe he will play a key role in restoring our club to the levels of success we have enjoyed over the past decade. We are elated to have him back.”
Under Farrell, the Blue Jays finished 81-81 (.500) in 2011 and 73-89 (.451) in 2012. While he was at the helm, the Blue Jays stole 131 bases in 2011 and 123 in 2012, Toronto’s highest marks in 10 years (since 2002). The two-year total, 254, was fourth-most in the American League. He was selected as a coach on the 2011 All-Star Team by American League skipper Ron Washington.
“John Farrell has so many attributes that we admire,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “He gets it. He is a most impressive interview—open, honest, and articulate. We did not know if we could pry him loose from the Blue Jays, but discussions were amicable, and we were able to hammer out an agreement with them and with him, and now we are eager to continue our efforts to construct this club for next season and beyond.”
In Farrell’s first year as the Red Sox’ pitching coach, the staff led the American League with a 3.87 ERA (618 ER/1,438.2 IP). Red Sox pitchers also led the AL in strikeouts with 1,185 in 2008 and 1,207 in 2010. From 2007-10, hurlers posted the third-best ERA in the league, 4.11 (2,637 ER/5,778.1 IP). During Farrell’s tenure as pitching coach, right-hander Clay Buchholz and southpaw Jon Lester were All-Stars.
Farrell was also the 2009 recipient of the Red Sox Good Guy Award from the Boston Chapter of the BBWAA and served as a spokesperson for the Mass Mentoring Program while in Boston.
“John has a great combination of skills, experience, and leadership ability,” said Executive Vice-President/General Manager Ben Cherington. “He’s a pure baseball guy, with the ability to develop relationships across a broad spectrum. We look forward to working with him to build the next great Red Sox team.”
Prior to joining the Red Sox in 2007, Farrell spent five years as Director of Player Development for the Cleveland Indians (November, 2001-November, 2006). The Indians earned “Organization of the Year” honors in 2003 and 2004 from USA Today’s Sports Weekly and were named by Baseball America as the top farm system in 2003.
As Director of Player Development in Cleveland, Farrell was responsible for the Indians’ six minor league affiliates, their Latin American programs in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, and the signing of minor league free agents.
Farrell was 36-46 with a 4.56 ERA in 116 major league games (109 starts) in an eight-year career with the Indians (1987-90, 1995), Angels (1993-94), and Tigers (1996).
In his first three years, the right-hander was 28-25 with a 3.86 ERA and 12 complete games. He won a career-high 14 games in 1988 and had a 3.63 ERA (84 ER/208.0 IP) in 1989, when he made a career-high 31 starts. Injuries then hampered him and caused him to miss all of 1991 and 1992. Cleveland selected him in the second round of the 1984 June Draft out of Oklahoma State University.
After his playing career, he returned to Oklahoma State, earned his bachelor’s in 1996, and served five seasons (1997-2001) as an assistant coach and pitching and recruiting coordinator. He instilled new disciplines and methods and mentored 14 pitchers that were either drafted or signed as non-drafted free agents, including 1999 Rookie of the Year Scott Williamson.
Farrell played four collegiate seasons at Oklahoma State from 1981-84, where he compiled an 11-2 mark with two saves and a 3.01 ERA his senior season, earning All Big-Eight Conference honors. He pitched for the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Hyannis club in 1982. Born in Monmouth Beach, NJ, he lettered in baseball and basketball at Shore Regional High School.
Farrell and his wife, Sue, have three sons, all of whom are involved in baseball: Jeremy is an infielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, Shane is a member of the Chicago Cubs front office as an amateur scouting assistant, and Luke is a pitcher in his senior season at Northwestern University.