In the event of a poor start by the 2016 Boston Red Sox, the organization could have a short leash on manager John Farrell. A prime candidate to replace Farrell in that instance would be Torey Lovullo, the bench coach who served as interim manager in 2015 while Farrell was undergoing cancer treatment.
Farrell and Lovullo, longtime friends, have discussed this elephant in the room. Lovullo described those conversations during his appearance on The Baseball Show Podcast with Sean McAdam.
“What we have talked about is being accessible to one another, being transparent to one another, and maintaining the same positive type of friendship and energy that we have over the many years that we’ve known one another,” Lovullo said. “This game is so awkward, because there are no guarantees. If we don’t get off to a good start, the entire coaching staff — all of us — might be gone.”
“They weren’t earth-shattering discussions,” Lovullo said. “It wasn’t like he’s worried about me doing something malicious; I just don’t have that in me based on our friendship. They’re very basic discussions, they’re very much appreciated discussions, and very honest discussions.”
Back in his role as bench coach, Lovullo explained what his days are like, and how he supports Farrell during games.
“I am John Farrell’s ears and eyes for every moment,” Lovullo said. “To kind of give him a sounding board as to what’s happening during the game.”
“In spring training I put together the scheduling,” Lovullo said. “Once the season starts I spend a lot of time in conversation with players, in conversation with staff members, getting the vibe as to what’s happening on a day-to-day basis. Just kind of sharing information with John as to what he may need to know for that day and that moment.”
And that information gathering is key. The conversations with staff and players allow Lovullo to serve as a sort of daily encyclopedia when Farrell needs information to make a decision during a game.
“If John Farrell asks me a question, I have to give him a quick answer. I want to make sure I give him a crisp answer based on how these guys are feeling on the information they have given to me.”
Farrell, he explained, has to stay in the moment, but Lovullo can do some prep work during the game for situations which may arise.
“Our thoughts are aligned most of the time,” Lovullo said. “At times that they’re not, we have great baseball discussions. His decision always wins — we know that, he’s the manager — but I’m there to give him some sort of support when I believe in it, or I want to challenge him when I have something that doesn’t necessarily align with his thought.”
Listen to the entire interview at the 8:04 mark on the podcast player above, or by searching CSNNE on iTunes. McAdam also discusses other news across MLB with Ken Rosenthal at the 22:50 mark.