John Farrell is the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. He takes over a team that won just 69 games, Boston's worst season since 1965.
Farrell is expected to restore order to a clubhouse and team in disarray, but former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek would have been a better choice for the job.
Varitek was recently named a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington. He will be involved with the Red Sox but should have made more of a push to be the new manager.
It seemed inevitable that the Red Sox would pry Farrell from the Toronto Blue Jays after the disastrous 2012 campaign. Farrell did a solid job with the Boston pitching staff as the pitching coach from 2006 to 2010, but he has yet to prove anything as a manager.
In 2011, Farrell's Blue Jays went 81-81 and were expected to improve under his lead in 2012. However, his team regressed to a 73-89 record in 2012, a year that saw the perennial cellar dweller Baltimore Orioles win 93 games.
Farrell appears to be saying all the right things in the early going, but he does not know the Red Sox quite like Varitek does.
Varitek spent his entire 15-year major league career with the Red Sox, beginning in 1997 (following a trade from Seattle ). He was named the captain of the team beginning in December of 2004, becoming only the fourth Red Sox captain since 1923.
It's a shame that Varitek's career ended with Boston's epic collapse in September of 2011, but he only appeared in nine games in that month and was never a part of the dysfunction.
He may have no managing experience, but his captaincy speaks to his leadership ability, as he led the Red Sox two World Series titles (2004 and 2007) in four years during his time as captain.
As a catcher for so many years, Varitek knows how pitchers should pitch to hitters, especially those in the AL East. He would help boost a Sox starting rotation that had a dreadful 5.19 ERA in 2012.
Farrell will certainly help the lower the team ERA, but he cannot help the team at the plate as much as Varitek would be able to. Varitek would be able to teach the young guys how to hit Major League pitching.
Farrell played in eight major league seasons, five of those with the Cleveland Indians. Varitek, on the other hand, was the heart and soul of the Red Sox for his entire career.
His career numbers (.253 BA, 193 HR, 757 RBI) don't pop off the page like those of former teammates Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, yet he was the face of the franchise as big names came and went.
Some may argue Varitek needs more seasoning before he manages in the league.
However, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura proved seasoning wasn't a requirement for successful managing, as both had no prior managing experience at any level before the 2012 season.
Matheny's Cardinals made the playoffs and led the Giants 3-1 in the NLCS before falling just short of the World Series, while Ventura's White Sox led the AL Central for most of the year before being passed by the Detroit Tigers in the last two weeks of the season.
In fact, Matheny is a former catcher just like Varitek.
Varitek may not have any managing experience. He may not be as qualified as John Farrell.
He deserved a shot, however, to revitalize a Red Sox franchise he helped make a winner.
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