BOSTON -- From the first day of Spring Training until the final day of the World Series, Red Sox manager John Farrell was uncomfortable taking direct credit for the terrific results of his team.
Instead, he was more comfortable crediting his players, general manager Ben Cherington and ownership.
But there's no hiding the impact Farrell made on a team that won the World Series after finishing in last place in 2012. And it should come as no surprise that Farrell is one of three finalists for the American League's Manager of the Year Award, which is voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Indians manager Terry Francona and Athletics manager Bob Melvin are the other two finalists.
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz doesn't have a vote, but if he did, it's pretty clear whom he would select.
"Our manager is outstanding," Ortiz said after the clinching Game 6 of the World Series. "He showed to all of us since Day 1 that he was the master piece that we need to get to this level. John did such a nice job with all of us. And our focus was coming in and doing nothing but playing baseball, which is different than last year."
Yes, that was Farrell's motto from the day the season started. He demanded his players put all of their attention into the game that day, and nothing else.
Though there had to be some minds that might have strayed here or there on a given day, the mission was pretty much accomplished.
The Red Sox were always prepared, and that had a lot to do with the work by Farrell and his staff.
"He said we're going to be as well or better prepared than anyone," Cherington said of Farrell. "He made it about the players, held them to a high standard but empowered them at the same time. And those are easy things to say in the winter, but it's hard to pull off when you're going through a six- or eight-month season and a grind. It's hard to pull it off, and sure enough, he did. It's a great credit to him, the people around him. They made it about exactly what he said it was going to be."
After winning 69 games in 2012, the Red Sox rebounded to win 97 in Farrell's first season.
In other words, trading utility man Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays to secure Farrell's services wound up being more than worth it for the Red Sox.
One thing that helped Farrell hit the ground running in Boston was his instant familiarity. He was already widely respected by the front-office members and players who remained from his four years as pitching coach under Francona.
Farrell would be the first Boston skipper to win the Manager of the Year Award since Jimy Williams in 1999.
The Red Sox didn't have any other finalists for the BBWAA Awards, though Jose Iglesias, who was with the club until his trade to the Tigers on July 31, is one of three candidates for AL Rookie of the Year.
In 63 games for Boston, Iglesias hit .330 with one homer, 19 RBIs and a .785 OPS while playing spectacular defense at short and third.
After his move to Detroit, which was part of a three-way trade that brought Jake Peavy to the Red Sox, Iglesias settled in as the Tigers' shortstop, hitting .259 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 46 games.