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“That’s our ultimate goal, to have that stability,” Lester said by phone last night. “You look from ’04 to 2011, pretty much it was the same people. A few moving parts here and there, but the core management was the same. And I think that’s how you build championships, when you’ve got a lot of the same ideas the same mentality, day in and day out.”
“You know he’s not just BS-ing you because you’re a baseball player playing for the Red Sox,” Lester said. “He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear. For a lack of a better term, you get your butt powdered a lot as a baseball player. To have a guy you know you’re going to get the truth from, that makes my job a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about deciphering the BS or rooting around to get the answer. I know he’s going to be honest from Day 1 and I know what I’m going to get from him.”
Lester cited an example. Early in his career, he was suffering through his traditional April malaise and began complaining to Farrell, who hardly lent a sympathetic ear. His message was direct: Quit whining and start pitching.
“He basically looked at me and said, ‘Get over it,’ ” Lester said. “I’m sure you’ve heard me say this many times, but that’s when I really bought in, that once a start is over, you start looking forward to the next one. He’s the guy that ingrained that in me.”
Herald | Jon Lester looks forward to return of mentor
There's been a lot of bellyaching about the acquisition of Farrell, saying that the Red Sox gave up too much (i.e., a major-league player) for a guy who won 73 games last year.
Of course, it's not that simple. Managers can only do so much, and Toronto didn't have enough talent to win that much more last year. Farrell wouldn't have done all that much better here -- nobody would have. This organization was a mess.
There are a few important things to consider with the introduction of Farrell, which comes today:
1. Hopefully it will be a lesson to ownership and Larry Lucchino that they need to stop meddling in the baseball operation. Perhaps they need to learn this every five years, rather than just once (like, say, the Krafts). Trust the leadership on the baseball side; you guys focus on selling bricks.
2. Farrell has the players' respect. Maybe he didn't in Toronto, but he does in Boston. Pedroia, Ortiz, and now Lester have all applauded the choice of Farrell as manager. I know, I know, you could argue that this means more "inmates running the asylum," but let's face it, it's important to have the buy-in of your clubhouse leaders.
3. Combining those two, what we have here is a new situation. It's not fair to say "he didn't do it in Toronto, so why should we think he can do it here?" It's also not fair to say, "Tito was lousy in Philly, then awesome here, ergo Farrell will do the same." We need to look at this logically: It's all about getting Farrell, players, and management all on the same page about what the Boston Red Sox are and how they're going to play. Are they going to be small ball? Pitching-focused? A series of on-base guys? A bunch of power and nothing else? A balanced team? Whatever it is, they now have a structure in place, hopefully starting with a non-meddling ownership group, followed by a respected GM, followed by a respected manager. Now they just need to take those parts and focus them on putting together the right group of players.
When considering whether Farrell is effective this year, remember these things. It's not fair to focus on record solely -- the Red Sox have a lot of work to do. They likely are not a playoff team next year. That won't be his fault. But we will be able to value him based on whether there seems to be more structure to the team -- and whether guys like Lester are falling in line and performing to their ability.
Herald | Not a tough (clown) act to follow | Sox, Jays at odds on John Farrell's value | ESPNBoston | John Farrell needs answers | CSNNE | Farrell's hiring gets Lester's stamp of approval