John Farrell

John Farrell: Alex Cora inheriting 'a stacked team' with Red Sox

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John Farrell: Alex Cora inheriting 'a stacked team' with Red Sox

In a TV appearance Wednesday, John Farrell took a matter-of-fact approach with the Red Sox’ decision to fire him. 

“Hey, every situation has a shelf life and a change was made and I respect the change that did take place,” Farrell told Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian in an appearance on MLB Network’s Hot Stove. “It’s a stacked team as it stands today. Alex Cora is inheriting a very good team with a lot of expectations, which, that’s the norm there. But it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold.”

Wednesday was the first time Farrell has made public comments since issuing a statement through the Red Sox when he was fired in October. He was set to appear on three MLB Network shows throughout Wednesday, including High Heat at 1 p.m. ET and MLB Tonight at 6 p.m.

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Farrell was asked about the challenges for new managers with little to no experience. Cora spent one year as the Astros’ bench coach, while Aaron Boone, introduced Wednesday as the Yankees’ manager, has never coached or managed.

“It’s no doubt going to be the scrutiny,” Farrell said. “And that’s going to have varying degrees depending on the city. You know coming out of five years in which there might have been the most scrutiny on a team on an individual player or a manager, and that’s Boston. But that’s also what draws people to those places, that the expectation is high and the ability to win is there every single year. And if that’s not in your DNA, and that’s not what you aspire to do, and that’s to win, maybe those places aren’t for you. So the talk certainly of Aaron Boone going into New York, I don’t know if he managed anywhere else would he be ready for the job that he’s walking into, I don’t know that you can prepare for those positions until you’re in them. I think it’s great to see. Great hire in Aaron Boone.”

Farrell, a former pitching coach, was asked what traps he would advise Mickey Callaway to avoid as Callaway, also a former pitching coach, begins managing the Mets. Farrell said he’s spoken with Gary DiSarcina, the 2017 Red Sox bench coach under Farrell who is now Callaway’s bench coach.

“Mickey’s going to lean on Gary a lot,” Farrell said. “And the fact is that Mickey’s reference is always going to be from a pitching standpoint. He’s going to know the ins and the outs of the mindset of a pitcher. What the mindset is of a position player? That’s going to be all new to Mickey. 

“Relying on his coaches around him, use ‘em to the best of his ability to give that feedback, and seventh inning on, those decisions are going to come fast and the game’s going to speed up. So, having that rapport and that conversation and that dialogue ongoing, Torey Lovullo was a great help to me along the way.”

Callaway, Farrell said, is going “to have a great ability to connect with guys.”

“That’s almost a buzzword today, is how are you connecting with individual players,” Farrell said, “and he’ll do a very good job.”

Reynolds followed up with a question about what Farrell meant by the seventh inning speeding up.

“More of your decisions, certainly with the bullpen — starters are probably going to be nearing the end of your day, so you got decisions to be made there,” Farrell said. “You’re running out of outs, and are you at the point where you can continue to sacrifice outs? To put a man in motion, to try to do some things offensively? So as the sand is dripping through the hourglass, the magnitude of those decisions become a little bit more at that point.”

The Red Sox under Cora hired Ramon Vazquez to serve what Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski called a quality control role. In the press release, Vazquez was termed a “liaison between the major league club’s advance scouting and statistical analysis efforts, for the purpose of presenting information to players and coaches.”

Farrell was asked about the flow of information in a question that was not directly related to the Red Sox. But from his answer, one can infer Farrell would have been a fan of adding someone like Vazquez had he stayed around.

“The biggest marker in the use of the information — because every team has got the information available to them — what is the structure in the system in place to deliver it to the player to be more applicable to their game?” Farrell said. “So if there is not a liaison, if there’s not a coach that is well versed in all the PITCHf/x, to all the objective data that’s available, if that kind of falls by the wayside, then it’s going to waste. So it’s, what organizations are putting that system in place to make it tangible, understandable, and really kind of water it down to the point of two or three key points.”

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Red Sox choose LeVangie for pitching coach

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Red Sox choose LeVangie for pitching coach

Dana LeVangie, the Red Sox bullpen coach under John Farrell, is their choice to be their next pitching coach, the team announced Wednesday.

LeVangie, 48, of Whitman, Mass., has been Red Sox bullpen coach since 2013, Farrell's first season as manager. The former Red Sox minor league catcher was also served as a bullpen catcher from 1997-2004, scout and catching instructor in the Sox organization. 

The pitching coach position was one of the final vacancies on new Sox manager Alex Cora's staff. Cora, the former Houston Astros bench coach and Red Sox utility infielder, was introduced as Boston's manager on Monday, replacing Farrell. 

Former Red Sox infielder Ramon Vazquez, the player traded by the Red Sox to Cleveland Indians in 2005 for Cora, was named "quality control" coach. 

Cora should seize chance to set tone in introductory press conference

Cora should seize chance to set tone in introductory press conference

BOSTON — Alex Cora’s introductory press conference at noon Monday must pack a lot into a little time, a reflection of the beginning of his Red Sox tenure on a whole. The learning curve on the job will be steep as a first-year manager taking over a 93-win team that has not only won consecutive division titles, but is also staring at a shrinking competitive window

Some of the talk at Fenway Park will revisit Cora’s previous time in Boston, as a player from 2005-08. He’ll have a remembrance of the World Series run in 2007, and what brought a 14-year big leaguer to his first career job in the big chair. Maybe we’ll get a sense of just how close he and Dustin Pedroia remain.

Managerial introductions are always celebratory. But Cora’s inauguration will stand out because he represents a landmark for the Red Sox and for the people of Puerto Rico: he’s the first Hispanic manager in club history. The Herald’s Michael Silverman discussed the broader context of Cora’s hiring at length in a piece that ran Sunday. 

Beyond the getting-to-know-you talk, Cora should face some questions about the Red Sox’ future — questions that deserve something at least resembling legitimate answers.

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Some things will be chalked up to, “We’ll see,” and “Time will tell.” But after the Sox said virtually nothing about why John Farrell was fired, they’d do well to talk about the vision moving forward.

By the end of the presser, Cora will have done well to establish some concrete platforms: clear beliefs and some planned approaches.

We can’t get carried away with expectations for Day 1, though. Who knows how many Sox players Cora has been able to reach, if any, at this point, and for what length of time.

On Friday, Cora was riding down the Houston streets, celebrating a seven-game World Series win over the Dodgers for his Astros. He served as the bench coach in Houston, a one-year stint that makes him nowhere close to a seasoned vet when it comes to running the show. 

This is a breakneck transition all around. Cora can’t provide bullet points of planned private conversations with the likes of David Price and Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. But the Price topic, and how he would have handled the pitcher’s encounter with Dennis Eckersley, is one that Cora can’t entirely sidestep either. 

Cora can address broadly what his expectations are for his players, about the identity he wants to establish with a Red Sox team that struggled to find one following David Ortiz’s departure. 

The manager sets the tone, and Monday is Cora’s first chance to do just that.

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