BOSTON Before Thursday night's annual Boston Baseball Writers Association of America dinner, new Red Sox manager John Farrell -- who plans to be at the teams spring training complex in Fort Myers on Feb. 1 -- addressed some topics concerning the team:
On the teams offseason:
Productive in the standpoint of outing a staff together, getting familiar with guys that I've spent some time with before, getting to understand at least initially some interaction with the guys weve signed in the offseason, reconnecting with many in the organization. We just finished three full days of organizational meeting here that was almost maybe a re-centering as we go into this upcoming season. Above and beyond all, everyones eager to get on the field down in Fort Myers.
On the current roster:
Balanced, professional, successful individual track records. Guys that have come from winning, playoff teams and World Series teams and to bring those ingredients, those individuals here, were looking forward to bringing everyone together in spring training. We have a pretty good challenge ahead of us. Nine new players projected on a 25-man roster. Thats a lot to integrate, to understand that were coming together and sacrificing for one another towards a team approach and thats where I think the people above and beyond the talents that there are have that reputation.
If guys play to their abilities . . . I think everybody looks at Jacoby Ellsbury . . . as a leadoff guy with the kind of ability, not only to steal bases but to drive the ball with some consistency . . . The one variation to look at, against a left-handed pitcher we could see Shane Victorino in the 2 hole but then see him down in the 5, 6 hole against right-handers . . . But I think the one thing that stands out is with Stephen Drews addition, and now Mike Napoli, it gives us that complement, that balance, left-right all the way through the lineup.
Victorino has moved around in the past. it's something weve talked about with him and hes comfortable with it, as hes done it, so that switching back and forth in the lineup for him wouldnt be out of the norm.
Several players are already in Fort Myers, including left-handers Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront:
Like all pitchers, theyre going through their long-toss program. Theyre out to 120-150 feet, protocol, and they're right in line for spring training.
Doubront is strong. He looked in great shape. Having the benefit of seeing and being with guys a couple of years ago, and then I left to manage the Blue Jays for two years . . . and now that I'm back, I see some physical maturity having taken place with several players, as has been the case with Felix. This is someone who really started to come into his own last year and I fully expect that progression to continue.
On the addition of Pedro Martinez as a special assistant:
A lot of experience, a lot of great pitching experience. He and Jason Varitek, also a special assistant being back in our organization in roles where they can afford and give back to young players coming through the system right now and really at the big-league level to give advice. This is a unique place that when you have the ability of two guys that have had the success that they have to have them accessible to our players, its going to be an asset to all of us.
Just being around the last couple of days . . . I had an impression of him across the field (as a member of the opposition) but to be around him in these meetings and then meeting downtown with Boston Mayor Tom Menino, the life and the confidence that he has . . . are a genuine past of his personality. Thats infectious. That rubs off on people. And I think when you have that type of ability to tap into by others around him, those players will be able to pull some pieces of information or experiences that should help them.
We had a lunch today. Incredible because he spoke of a story that Mayor Menino gave him some advice his first year here: where to live, things to stay away from. And it was a really cool recount of that experience. It was almost like the father figure talking to a young, talented guy, giving advice and guidance. And his appreciation was very evident and really a pretty neat setting.
On the roster:
I think weve got a very good roster. I like our team as it stands today, and we havent even gotten to spring training yet. But not only the talent that general manager Ben Cherington and his staff have brought in, but they people that they are, and I will tell you, from Day One of being named to this position and talking to players throughout the offseason, there are many, many players that are eager to rewrite the story that took place a year ago and are looking forward to getting back on the field in Fort Myers.
On former manager Terry Franconas new book:
Ive seen some of the excerpts. Ive talked to Tito directly about it and hes given his innermost thoughts. All I can say is that hes had a tremendous amount of success here, as did everyone during those eight years . . . two world titles . . .we can only hope to continue in some fashion close to that.
What he takes from his time working with Francona:
Fortunate to stand by him four years here in Boston in a unique place. He did such a great job with balancing the demand of this position. There were a lot of different types of players that have come through his door for those eight tears and how he blended those personalities, how he kept issues in-house is a stroke of talent, a stroke of genius in some ways, to blend that and to let every player know that he had their back. They felt that, they played hard for him and as a result had a lot of success.