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   1. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 21, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4277894)
On the offensive side, Farrell’s clubs have attempted a slightly above average number of sac bunts, but they have the worst rate of sacrifice bunt success in the AL from 2011-2012 (117 Att, 64 Succ).


I find this a little troubling. A big part of managing is getting guys to do what they are capable of and this looks like a guy thing to shoehorn a round peg into a square hole. If that's something tht he does regularly its a problem. I'm eager to see what kind of year Ellsbury has for Farrell.

I think your overall points are good though. I completely agree that the Sox being in agreement is really good news. After watching these guys stumble around for a year with no clear path it's good to see everyone rowing in the same direction. Even if he's not good I think he'll eliminate a lot of the daily drama simply by not being Bobby Valentine who was going to be a lightning rod even if he was successful. Every game won't be a referendum on the manager.
   2. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4277989)
the Sox have committed talent to acquiring Farrell, so it seems likely this is our manager for a few years.

A mid-70s OPS+ utility infielder?Seems like they committed more to Bobby V and it didn't extend him.
   3. Darren Posted: October 21, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4278052)
It seems like hiring Farrell almost nothing to do with his work in Toronto and everything to do with what they know of him from before. The team had some success with him as the pitching coach and perhaps they think he was crucial to that. Maybe it was all him and no Francona!
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 21, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4278080)
Seems like they committed more to Bobby V and it didn't extend him.

The threshold for firing managers 3 years in a row would seem fairly high, no? That'd be a pretty big admission of failure.
   5. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 21, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4278087)
I hope your starting third baseman likes to stand in shallow right field a lot, because Farrell loves the shift.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 21, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4278096)
It's going to be quite difficult for Farrell to be poor enough to get fired in a year. The Valentine disaster was so dramatic that a 75/87 season without any embarrassing statements is going to look good by comparison.
   7. Shock Posted: October 21, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4278145)
"Exciting" is one way of putting it. Watching the players get picked off and thrown out at third over and over again is the main reason I wanted Farrell gone. Expect to hear lots of praise for his "aggressiveness" despite that, though. At one point the 2012 team led the league in CS while being something like 7th in SB. They got better near the end though, helped out in part by a late season call up of Anthony Gose.

The lack of platooning is an excellent observation as well. He is a loyal manager, I suppose. The best example was him sticking with Adam Lind as the #4 hitter even against lefties and even after some 1,000 PA of futility. Patience is a virtue, I have heard.

Good luck to him in Boston...
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 21, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4278171)
The lack of platooning is an excellent observation as well. He is a loyal manager, I suppose. The best example was him sticking with Adam Lind as the #4 hitter even against lefties and even after some 1,000 PA of futility. Patience is a virtue, I have heard.
Oof. That is worrying. I was kind of hoping that was a statistical artifact rather than a real tendency. The Sox will almost certainly be running job-sharing arrangements at C (Salty and the Boor) and one of LF/RF (Ross needs a caddy). Farrell better be up to the task.
"Exciting" is one way of putting it. Watching the players get picked off and thrown out at third over and over again is the main reason I wanted Farrell gone. Expect to hear lots of praise for his "aggressiveness" despite that, though. At one point the 2012 team led the league in CS while being something like 7th in SB.
For what it's worth, "over and over" doesn't show up clearly in the statistical record. The Jays, despite their aggressive running, did not make outs on base at a terribly high rate. They made 110 outs on base over two years, right at league average. The Angels, by contrast, paid for their (admittedly more) aggressive ways with 143 outs on base. Texas, Minnesota, and the Rays were less aggressive than Toronto in taking the extra base, but averaged the same number of outs on base.
   9. RJ in TO Posted: October 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4278176)
For what it's worth, "over and over" doesn't show up clearly in the statistical record. The Jays, despite their aggressive running, did not make outs on base at a terribly high rate. They made 110 outs on base over two years, right at league average. The Angels, by contrast, paid for their (admittedly more) aggressive ways with 143 outs on base. Texas, Minnesota, and the Rays were less aggressive than Toronto in taking the extra base, but averaged the same number of outs on base.

The timing of his steals was also often an issue. Early in 2011, when Jose Bautista was as hot as it's possible for a player to be, Farrell repeatedly gave the green light to both Rajai Davis and Corey Patterson. The end result was either them getting thrown out, and removing a baserunner (and occasionally ending the inning), or them being successful, and Jose Bautista getting intentionally walked. There was a reason he had 20 homers though the end of May (and 10 other extra base hits), but only 38 RBI.
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4278210)
I'm not too worried about the Lind stuff. To the contrary I think it probably is a positive for a team developing. The Jays invested a lot in Lind and it would have been foolish to just cut bait on him after a couple of months. The patience Farrell showed in Lind could easily prove to be a positive when a player "figures it out" rather than unloading a useful player at the fort sing of struggles( e.g. Reddick).

The base stealing thing is a concerning one. Positive or negative Farrell seems to be much more Tito than Valentine and we are going to trade some tactical acumen for clubhouse chemistry. (Not that that is particularly surprising given his background.).
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4278214)
Positive or negative Farrell seems to be much more Tito than Valentine and we are going to trade some tactical acumen for clubhouse chemistry.
I was not particularly impressed with Valentine tactically. The all baseball all the time tactician Valentine that I imagined and the checked-out given-up Valenine we got are two quite different things.

The baserunning record of Farrell's Blue Jay clubs, as preserved on B-R, is pretty good. It could be the case that RJ and Shock have it right and Farrell cost his team runs with his choices of when to run, but that's not appearing in the overall, context-neutral numbers.
   12. RJ in TO Posted: October 21, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4278224)
Positive or negative Farrell seems to be much more Tito than Valentine and we are going to trade some tactical acumen for clubhouse chemistry. (Not that that is particularly surprising given his background.).

Keep in mind that there were also complaints about the Jays' clubhouse chemistry under Farrell, including comments at the end of the season about a lack of veteran leadership. In Farrell, at least based on his time with the Jays, it looks like you're getting a guy who isn't all that great tactically, and who also isn't that great in terms of the clubhouse chemistry.

I guess it could be different in Boston than Toronto, since he did come from there and they apparently wanted him back, but I wouldn't count on it.
   13. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: October 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4278279)
The patience Farrell showed in Lind could easily prove to be a positive when a player "figures it out" rather than unloading a useful player at the fort sing of struggles( e.g. Reddick).


(I assume that should read: "first sign" of struggles) Lind has been wretched since his big 2009 season.
.237/.287/.425
.251/.295/.439
.255/.314/.414

It's Anthopoulos failure to bring in a RH bat to platoon with Lind the last few years and put it to a manager to platoon him. But Farrell was the usual total old school Manager when it came to having a static line-up where not only was Lind hitting 4th often, but that he would not be dropped in the line-up when facing a LH starter.
   14. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 21, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4278303)
Yes, first sign of troubles. Things get a little hinky on the ol iPad sometimes.
   15. Shock Posted: October 21, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4278489)
Absolutely, it's good for a manager to show faith in his players, and that's why I phrased my post in the way that I did. However, it is a fine line, and keep in mind that when Farrell took over the team, Lind was already coming off a terrible 2010 season. I have no problem with the team going right back to him for the beginning of the 2011 season, but Farrell literally never touched him the entire year while he continued to struggle, playing him every game, always batting him 4th (he also batted 5th 3 times.) Even THEN, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but when it gets to 2012, and Lind has now had two consecutive awful seasons, I would insist that it's time to scale things back a bit. I'm not saying they needed to jettison him, but Jesus, make him a bench player, sit him against lefties, bat him 8th. But it was pretty much the same story. Lind batted cleanup on opening day. Lind started against lefties. At one point he had hit something like .230/.290/.420 over his last 1,000 PA and he was still batting 4th against a LHP as if it were 2009.

I agree a lot of it is on AA; the roster construction last year was putrid, but I have to imagine the manager works with the GM on roster construction to some degree. I can't imagine that AA wouldn't be able to find him a useful RHB who could play 1B if Farrell wanted one, instead of carrying 38 crappy relievers.

As for the base-stealing stuff, I can admit it might be more of an emotional reaction than a factual representation of how many runs it cost the team, but I think you guys would agree that as a fan, emotions are important, and as RJ described a lot of it was just the frustration of Davis getting picked off at the worst possible times.
   16. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 22, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4278733)

Keep in mind that there were also complaints about the Jays' clubhouse chemistry under Farrell, including comments at the end of the season about a lack of veteran leadership. In Farrell, at least based on his time with the Jays, it looks like you're getting a guy who isn't all that great tactically, and who also isn't that great in terms of the clubhouse chemistry.

I guess it could be different in Boston than Toronto, since he did come from there and they apparently wanted him back, but I wouldn't count on it.


I do think Farrell checked out at the end of the season. I think he saw the writing on the wall for Valentine and he wanted to go to the Sox. An excuse for the poor leadership, but it doesn't say much about Farrell's character.
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4284221)
Torey Lovullo officially named bench coach according to Bradford.
   18. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 30, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4288377)
   19. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 30, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4288387)
More coaching news, Brian Butterfield named third base coach.


Wish it was this guy instead.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: October 30, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4288395)
In SS news, the A's declined their Stephen Drew option.
   21. RJ in TO Posted: October 30, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4288400)
You ####### ####### got Butterfield as well? You big sackfull of bastards.

The "loss" of Farrell was a day filled with joy. The loss of Butterfield sucks.
   22. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 31, 2012 at 03:00 AM (#4289030)
What's the deal with Butterfield?

Looks like the Red Sox will interview Rick Peterson and Juan Nieves for the pitching coach gig. I'm bracing for the Rick Peterson jokes.
   23. Good cripple hitter Posted: October 31, 2012 at 03:15 AM (#4289032)
Someone can probably sum this up better than me, but the quick version is Butterfield has a great reputation as a teacher of infield defense. Orlando Hudson gave him a lot of credit for helping him develop into a Gold Glove winner, and he helped Aaron Hill make the move to second base. I'd say he's more of a loss to the Jays than Farrell, and it's not particularly close.

There's a decent Q&A article from 2009 here.
   24. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: October 31, 2012 at 04:17 AM (#4289039)
Yup, as GCH just said. Fantastic reputation as a infield instructor, coordinator of the defensive shift alignments which worked to great effect and is glowingly liked and respected by players, management and broadcasters. Been with TOR for ten years, working under four different Managers. Farrell leaving is no loss of any kind. Butterfield is. The guys absolute class.
   25. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 31, 2012 at 06:28 AM (#4289050)
Maybe they'll bring back Youkilis. Please?
   26. I Am Not a Number Posted: October 31, 2012 at 06:48 AM (#4289055)
I hope your starting third baseman likes to stand in shallow right field a lot, because Farrell loves the shift.

Brett Lawrie assumed the "shallow RF" position in the shift because he was deemed, rightfully, more athletic than Kelly Johnson. If Boston employs the same dramatic shifts -- likelier now with Butterfield's arrival -- I'm sure it will be a more normal shift, with the infielders simply sliding over to the left. I doubt Middlebrooks will be called upon to assume Lawrie's role.
   27. I Am Not a Number Posted: October 31, 2012 at 06:57 AM (#4289057)
From miles away from Boston, bringing Youkilis back to play first base, or third base if Middlebrooks isn't entirely healed, would seem to be a reasonable move, if more for team building than what he might bring to the table at this point (which is still considerably more than James Loney). Does anyone closer to the situation see any obvious negatives with this? Is there bad PR to be had in this somehow? Are Youkilis and Pedroia seen as potentially obstructionist in the clubhouse? Surely there is history with Farrell so this presumably wouldn't morph into another Valentine situation should Youk suffer a slow start.

That said, Youkilis may want a fresh start somewhere else, presumably with the many suitors a thin third base market would provide.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2012 at 07:27 AM (#4289063)
I wouldn't be opposed to Youks at first base, or to any of the other possible stopgaps (Morneau salary dump has lots of fans over at SoSH and makes some good sense, too). I assume that Cherington's first goal with the big roster holes (1B, SS, RF, SP) is to get a young player who can potentially be a star on the 2014-2015 Red Sox. Obviously he's not going to get four guys like that, but I figure he wants to remain open to it.

I don't know what happened with the Youkilis trade. It seems to have been a series of cascading ####-ups from ownership down to field management and training staff. I can imagine that the Sox might want to move on rather than have to dredge up the whole story again. Youkilis isn't an irreplaceable talent, and he likely doesn't have too much left in the tank, so if the club thinks they're better off with his non-union Canadian equivalent, I don't think that's too much of a problem.
   29. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2012 at 07:29 AM (#4289064)
If I were Youk, the only way I'd come back to Boston is if they wildly overpaid me.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2012 at 07:33 AM (#4289065)
And I should have mentioned the shift defense in the blog post. Farrell's Jays were early adopters in 2011 - according to John Dewan's numbers, there were four teams that really led the charge in the institution of the constant shift, and Toronto was the fourth after Tampa, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. In 2012, everyone started shifting even more than they had the year before (are there complete 2012 stats somewhere?), and Toronto remained in the lead group.

We can definitely expect a lot of new shifting with Farrell. I wonder how much Fenway will affect this. I do wonder if the park's peculiarities, and the relative ease of lumping a fly-ball double to the opposite field, make the aggressive shift against LHB a less effective tactic. (Obviously it will work against your pure pull hitters, but the Madden shift was being used against freakin' everyone.)
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 31, 2012 at 07:37 AM (#4289068)
I love Youk and while I'd love to bring back the player I think it's best to move on. As a practical matter if you are looking toward 2014 to compete I don't think Youk is at a point where you'd count on him for that year so the Sox are probably hunting for a first baseman next winter if they bring him on board. If the Sox can't find a more permanent solution I'd rather see the Sox find a Millar/Petagine type (there has to be one out there) and see if they can hit the jackpot. I think if you do that you avoid some of the media-driven drama if it's not working out than you would be with Youk.
   32. Mike Webber Posted: October 31, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4289103)
We can definitely expect a lot of new shifting with Farrell. I wonder how much Fenway will affect this. I do wonder if the park's peculiarities, and the relative ease of lumping a fly-ball double to the opposite field, make the aggressive shift against LHB a less effective tactic. (Obviously it will work against your pure pull hitters, but the Madden shift was being used against freakin' everyone.)


I believe that Fenway makes it "easier" or "more effective" to use shift defenses because of the lack of foul territory on the left side of the infield.

An infield shift doesn't really change the likely hood of a wall-ball double.

"But Mike, it increases the likely-hood of a wall-ball double, because the batter is tempted to hit the ball the other way."

Okay, but (1) they probably aren't pitching him away, and (2) if Jim Thome (or insert your favorite lefty slugger here) is trying to hit the ball the other way he is way less likely hit one off the Jimmie Foxx red seat in center.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4289128)
I believe that Fenway makes it "easier" or "more effective" to use shift defenses because of the lack of foul territory on the left side of the infield.
This is a really good point. I bet that more than balances out everything else. I am now on board with the shift. Let's shift again!
Okay, but (1) they probably aren't pitching him away, and (2) if Jim Thome (or insert your favorite lefty slugger here) is trying to hit the ball the other way he is way less likely hit one off the Jimmie Foxx red seat in center.
But I must quibble. No one is saying you shouldn't shift against Jim Thome. Everyone shifts against Jim Thome. The radical increase in shift defense in 2011-2012 happened because clubs started shifting against Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Daniel Nava and Ben Zobrist.

But as I said, I think you're almost certainly right that the foul territory issue is determinative, and I'm betting Farrell and Butterfield will be pretty shift-crazy next year.
   34. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 31, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4289146)
I don't want Youkilis at 1st next year. I'd take the under on a 110 OPS+ at this point. He might have a dead cat bounce, and if he wanted a cheapish 1-2 year deal maybe I'd consider it, but I think there's as good of a chance that he's done in two years as there is of him being productive.
   35. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 31, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4289148)
Didn't the White Sox just pick up Youk's option? I thought I saw that on mlbtraderumors or somewhere and was totally surprised, although the White Sox do surprising things.
   36. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: October 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4289150)
They did not, but are interested in contracting w him for next year.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4289152)
   38. Darren Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4290731)
Speaking of shifts and defense, Fangraphs has a nice interview with Dustin Pedroia about his defense, including a discussion of shifting for each hitter. Here's a fun exchange, which I think is just Pedroia being coy:

DL: You’ve committed 50 errors in nine professional seasons. What does that mean to you?

DP: Is that a lot?

DL: Derek Jeter had over 50 in his second professional season.

DP: Oh, nice, I guess it’s not a lot.
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 05, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4293463)
Edes reports that Rick Peterson is likely to be the new pitching coach. That's a big new hire. I like that it's apparently being driven by how much Farrell wants to work with Peterson. Peterson's got a bit of Valentineyness about him, and I can't help but cringe a little.
   40. Dan Posted: November 05, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4293514)
Peterson as pitching coach should be an asset, especially with a guy like Farrell as manager who will also have a large amount of oversight in pitching I'm sure. As long as he's being a coach and not fancying himself a GM, Peterson seems like a big positive.
   41. Darren Posted: November 05, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4293851)
Jon Lester, report to the bullpen for 10 minutes.

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