Farrell introduced: 'There's going to be challenges'

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Farrell introduced: 'There's going to be challenges'

BOSTON The Red Sox introduced John Farrell as the 46th manager in team history at a press conference at Fenway Park Tuesday afternoon.

Citing Farrells broad set of experiences as a manager, coach, farm director, and player, and his familiarity with the organization, Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Farrell is a unique person and the right person for this job. As we work to build the next great Red Sox team we are extremely fortunate that John will be with us to lead that team on the field."

Farrell, 50, managed the Blue Jays for the last two seasons, compiling a combined record of 154-170, with fourth place finishes in the American League East each season. He had the Sox pitching coach for four seasons before that, beginning in 2007 when the Sox won the World Series, and had been the Indians farm director for five years before that. He was a second-round pick of the Indians in 1984 out of Oklahoma State, posting a combined major league record of 36-46 with a 4.56 ERA in five seasons with the Indians, two with the Angels and one with the Tigers.

"I think Boston is, in my mind and maybe debatable across the country, this is the epicenter of the game, Farrell said. So to come in and have at least four years of experience previous, not having sat in this seat but been close to it, to see the demands of the position, the passion of this region, the energy that is in this ballpark every single night, I think to a certain extent that energy and what people expect holds our players accountable with the effort that they put out every single night."

The Sox believe it is that familiarity that should help Farrell gain the trust of the players.

It's important and yet it's something that could be very fragile, Farrell said. It's something that you earn, you develop, and you have to maintain it with a consistent approach. But I also think that if you treat people with that trust give them that respect treat them like men it will come back to you tenfold. That doesn't mean its always going to be rosy. There's going to be challenges. There'll be tough conversations to have with individual players. But I think the willingness to have those conversations, and to be candid and upfront, that's where you can earn that trust day in and day out.

While Farrell is familiar with some of the core group of players from his four years Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury andDavid Ortiz, who can become a free agent there has been a tremendous amount of turnover on the roster, and in the organization, since then.

Theres a list of to-dos, Farrell said. "With the roster as it stands today theres a group you can build around and build a very successful team, too. The fact of having a comfort level with Ben and assistant general managers Mike Hazen and Brian OHalloran and everybody in baseball ops, theres no communication barriers, theres no reluctance to give a gut feel or educated opinion on a given player, on a given combination of things that might currently exist or what were trying to achieve on a roster standpoint.

But the game also fosters change whether its through free agency, whether its through opportunity, it would be the same if I were able to assemble a coaching staff that would be able to achieve opportunity elsewhere and become managers. We would champion that. That means were getting quality people and that means were putting our players in the best environment to have success as well.

The Blue Jays had to deal with nearly as much adversity and injuries this past season as the Red Sox did. The result was a poor finish to the season. That did not diminish Cheringtons confidence that Farrell is the right person for the job.

What Im looking for in a manager is someone who can make sure that players that we have are getting everything that we need every day, taking advantage of all the resources, and ultimately that were prepared to play, Cherington said. Theres a lot that goes into that. Theres teaching that goes into that, preparation, game-planning that goes into thatall those thing. Ultimately its on me and us, the organization, to build a roster that then leads to wins.

The managers job is to get the most out of the roster thats given to him and clearly based on our performance this year we need to do a better job of building a roster so that not just John but the entire organization benefits and our fans get what they deserve. So that work is going to continue to go on. Its been going on this month. Its going to go on all offseason, its not going to stop in spring training. I believe John is the right person to make sure that once the rosters together and we hit spring training, that every players given the best opportunity possible to succeed and ultimately our team had the best opportunities.

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

IRVING, Texas -- Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency.

After days of near round-the-clock talks, negotiators reached a verbal agreement about 3 1/2 hours before the expiration of the current pact. Then they worked to draft a memorandum of understanding, which must be ratified by both sides.

"It's great! Another five years of uninterrupted baseball," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said in a text message.

In announcing the agreement, Major League Baseball and the players' association said they will make specific terms available when drafting is complete.

"Happy it's done, and baseball is back on," Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said.

As part of the deal, the experiment of having the All-Star Game determine which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series will end after 14 years, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been signed.

Instead, the pennant winner with the better regular-season record will open the Series at home.

Another important change: The minimum time for a stint on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.

The luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.

Tax rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first offenders, remain at 30 percent for second offenders and rise from 40 percent to 50 percent for third offenders. There is a new surtax of 12 percent for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 42.5 percent for first offenders more than $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent for subsequent offenders more than $40 million above.

Union head Tony Clark, presiding over a negotiation for the first time, said in a statement the deal "will benefit all involved in the game and leaves the game better for those who follow."

Key changes involve the qualifying offers clubs can make to their former players after they become free agents - the figure was $17.2 million this year. If a player turns down the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team forfeits an amateur draft pick, which usually had been in the first round under the old deal.

Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven. A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.

A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.

Among other details:

-For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places.

-While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team's annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.

-There is no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

-Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.

-The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.

-The minimum salary rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years; the minor league minimum for a player appearing on the 40-man roster for at least the second time goes up from $82,700 to $86,500 next year, $88,000 in 2018 and $89,500 in 2019, followed by cost-of-living raises.

-The drop-off in slot values in the first round of the amateur draft will be lessened.

-Oakland's revenue-sharing funds will be cut to 75 percent next year, 50 percent in 2018, 25 percent in 2019 and then phased out.

-As part of the drug agreement, there will be increased testing, players will not be credited with major league service time during suspensions, and biomarker testing for HGH will begin next year.

Negotiators met through most of Tuesday night in an effort to increase momentum in the talks, which began during spring training. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agreement before the old contract expired, but a deal was struck eight weeks in advance in 2006 and three weeks ahead of expiration in 2011.

Talks took place at a hotel outside Dallas where the players' association held its annual executive board meeting.

Clark, the first former player to serve as executive director of the union, and others set up in a meeting room within earshot of a children's choir practicing Christmas carols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years. The 2002 agreement was reached after players authorized a strike and about 3 1/2 hours before the first game that would have been impacted by a walkout.

The peace in baseball is in contrast to the recent labor histories of other major sports. The NFL had a preseason lockout in 2011, the NBA lost 240 games to a lockout that same year and the NHL lost 510 games to a lockout in 2012-13.