Alex Anthopoulos finally made it official by announcing the Blue Jays have hired John Farrell, the former pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox, to be the twelfth manager in Blue Jays history. Farrell was considered one of the best minds available. In fact, Terry Francona stated it was not a question of whether he became a bench boss, or even how long (he knew it would be this year), it was a question of where.
By hiring Farrell, Anthopoulos solidifies the idea that the Blue Jays will build from within. Farrell was famous for making the Cleveland Indians farm system one of the best in baseball. This caught the eyes of the Red Sox brass and they promptly hired him as their pitching coach.
Under his tutelage some of the bright young stars of the Boston Red Sox pitching rotation were formed. This would greatly help the young pitchers the Blue Jays have on the team now (Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Shaun Marcum, Brett Cecil etc.), but also the ones coming up through the system like Kyle Drabek, and Deck McGuire.
Anthopoulos is taking a huge risk in hiring this unproven manager. Of course, it is highly unlikely a proven manager would come to the Blue Jays by leaving their current jobs. As for the ones who don't have a job now, most of them are old and would not be able to make as big of an impact by the time they would retire. By getting someone as young as Farrell (48), he is able to take the risk of getting a stud manager for years to come.
Lots of people are saying this is another one of those brilliant moves by Alex Anthopoulos. I tend to agree. But don't just take my word for it. Even Manny Ramirez agrees. He claims to have been a fan of the Blue Jays since the 1980s because of all the Dominican players that they had on their teams.
Now with the addition of Farrell, whom he claims is extremely knowledgeable about the game, he is apparently considering signing with the Blue Jays. Of course one wonders at the age of 38 who really wants him, but then again this is still Manny Ramirez.
Now Farrell has to build his team. That is to say he has to decide if he keeps the current coaching staff or not. He can bring in his own guys, and maybe even do the job of the pitching coach himself. I am against the latter as I believe it overextends the manager too much and he should be able to parlay responsibility. If the Jays had been able to keep their former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, there is no question he keeps him. Now, however, its all up for debate.
I think the only person safe from being fired from the coaching staff is Brian Butterfield. He has done and will continue to do a good job as third base coach. The only difference I see is that Farrell may choose to move him around to first base or maybe even hitting coach. We should expect that a man of this caliber would probably have a job within the organization for a while.
Now that Farrell has finally been hired, the question is what's next? The Blue Jays play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. What will Farrell have to do to get the extra 11 or so wins to get into the post season? The answer to these questions remains to be seen.