The Toronto Blue Jays named John Farrell their new manager Monday, handing over a young team to a man with a strong and wide-ranging resume that lacks any previous managerial experience.
The 48-year-old's hiring brings to a close a thorough and exhaustive search that began in August with GM Alex Anthopoulos and his staff combing through all 30 organizations to examine prospective candidates.
They ended up settling on Farrell, the Red Sox's pitching coach since 2007 who was very well thought of in Boston and had been widely viewed as the heir apparent to manager Terry Francona.
“You spend any time around him, he can be good at whatever he wants,” Francona told the Boston Herald during the season. “Manager, GM, pitching coach, running a minor league system, you name it. He's just a special talent.”
The Blue Jays made the announcement in a release Monday and will introduce Farrell at an afternoon news conference.
Farrell replaces the retired Cito Gaston, who survived a clubhouse uprising at the end of the 2009 season but regrouped to help a youthful group overachieve in 2010.
Much of that was accomplished on the back on a young pitching staff led by Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Brett Cecil.
Farrell is no doubt well positioned to help them continue their growth, and incorporate other top young arms like Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart, but how he handles the rest of the team is less clear.
Farrell spent eight seasons pitching in the majors — he won 14 games for the Indians in 1988 — before retiring after the 1996 season. He took over as assistant coach/pitching and recruiting co-ordinator at Oklahoma State University, spending five years in the role.
In 2001 he joined the Cleveland Indians as director of player development, and spent 2002 working with Tony LaCava, now the Blue Jays assistant GM.
Farrell remained in that role — helping mould young talent and overseeing the team's Latin America programs, two points of emphasis for the Blue Jays — until joining the Red Sox.
Other teams have previously sought him out for managerial openings, but the Blue Jays got him.
“He will be an effective, excellent manager,” Red Sox owner John Henry wrote in an e-mail to the Boston Globe. “I expect him to manage in MLB for as long as he wants to. He's going to an excellent young team with a strong and smart hierarchy. The Blue Jays are going to be a force in the AL East for some time to come.”