The formal introduction of John Farrell as the 46th manager in Red Sox history yesterday at Fenway Park is only the beginning and a minor step in the rebuilding process of the storied franchise.
It is the players who will ultimately determine how far the franchise can go, not their manager.
Farrell was the team’s pitching coach from 2007-2010, a stretch where the Red Sox won a World Series title and reached the playoffs in all but one season. In his time as pitching coach, the Red Sox staff held opponents to a batting average of .254 while leading the American League in strikeouts.
Pitching will be a vital key to the success of the 2013 Red Sox. This past season they were 12th in ERA in the American League, with only the Twins and Indians finishing worse, and those were the two teams who finished with a worse record than the Red Sox.
With Farrell’s familiarity with the pitching staff one would expect Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz to thrive in 2013 and beyond. Both are coming off of disappointing 2012 campaigns.
In Farrell’s last season as pitching coach, Lester had his best season as a professional. The lefty went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA and totaled 225 strikeouts, all of which were career bests.Likewise, 2010 was Buchholz’ best season. The right-hander went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA and was named an AL All-Star for the first and only time in his career. The wins and ERA were also career bests.
One of the biggest question marks for the Red Sox heading into next year is what will they get from Daniel Bard? Following the failed experiment of trying him as a starter, Bard will likely head back to being the full-time set up guy, a role in which he was one of the best in the league just a few years ago.
In 2010 Bard appeared in 73 games throwing 74.2 innings finishing with a blistering 1.93 ERA and 76 strikeouts. Farrell certainly will be playing a role in getting Bard back to his 2010-2011 form.
While the players are the ones to ultimately determine just how successful the Red Sox will be, Farrell will play a pivotal role and should provide a boost to the pitching staff, something they desperately need.