John Farrell is back and ready to take on the challenge that is the Boston Red Sox.
Farrell, who was hired by Boston after managing American League East rival Toronto for two seasons, will have a lot on his plate during his first year running the team. The most important duty, though, will be trying to fix a team that put together one of the worst seasons in franchise history just a year ago. From the clubhouse to the pitching staff to the lineup, there's more than enough work that has to get done.
Bobby Valentine won only 69 games in his first and only season at the helm of the Red Sox. Farrell's most obvious goal should be to win at least 70 games, which -- although it wouldn't be too impressive -- would be progress.
Farrell didn't have much success with the Blue Jays over the past two years, averaging 77 wins per season and missing the postseason each time. The Red Sox have a lot more star power and potential than the Blue Jays, though. Their problem has just been putting that to good use. Whether it be hanging onto a late lead, coming through with a big hit or just making the right play, Boston had trouble figuring it all out during last season's 93 losses.
The Red Sox are more than capable of winning 90-plus games in Farrell's first year, but they were also capable of that in 2012. Since 2000, the Red Sox have won less than 90 games five times. Winning 90 games would pretty much guarantee a playoff spot -- unless you're this year's Rays -- and that should be the main goal of the 2013 Red Sox.
As Red Sox Nation has seen during the last three seasons, playing in the postseason isn't a lock every year anymore, but Farrell could be the guy that brings the Sox back.
Whether Farrell can get them there or not, wins are essential. So how many will Farrell and the Red Sox get in 2013?
How many games will John Farrell win in first year as Red Sox manager?