Farrell relishes the chance to compete against Sox, Yanks

191542.jpg

Farrell relishes the chance to compete against Sox, Yanks

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

At the start of the interview process to select the next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, John Farrell had two strikes against him -- he had never managed professionally and he faced some institutional bias that suggests pitching coaches don't always make the best managers.

Ultimately, however, Farrell overcame any obstacles and was introduced Monday as the 12th manager in franchise history.

"A lot of attributes stood out,'' said Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos by phone. "From the first phone interview we had, you could tell that he was very prepared, a great communicator and strong leadership qualities.''

Anthopoulos said the conventional wisdom which argued against hiring a pitching coach "crossed our minds. But in fairness, not too many have been given that opportunity.''

It may have also helped that Bud Black, who had been the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before being hired to manage the San Diego Padres, directed the Padres to a 90-win season and had them in playoff contention until the final day of the season.

"I wanted the best candidates, regardless of what position he played during his career,'' Anthopoulos.

As far Farrell's relative lack of managerial experience, Anthopoulos noted that a number of successul managers -- including Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker and, the man Farrell is replacing, Cito Gaston -- also lacked prior experience before being hired for their first jobs.

"More experience is something you welcome,'' said Anthopoulos, ''but there have been plenty who have succeeded without it.''

"Obviously, my background is pretty well-documented, so it wasn't a surprise,'' said Farrell after returning to the Boston area Monday night. "As the the initial conversations took place, if there were any concerns in those areas, there was a comfort area arrived at that squelched those thoughts.''

On the plus side, Farrell has thorough knowledge of the Blue Jays and the rest of the American League East, where he has coached the last four seasons.

"On the other hand, if John had been in, say, the National League West,'' added Anthopoulos, "I don't have any doubt that he still would have come in to the interview process very prepared.''

As familiar as Farrell is with the division, he was aware that the Blue Jays are the only team in the A.L. East to fail to make the postseason since the 1994 strike. Moreover, the Jays have perennial powerhouses (Yankees, Red Sox) and talented upstarts (Rays) to overcome.

But that, as it turned out, was a selling point.

"As daunting as some might see the East,'' said Farrell, "to compete against the
best for the majority of the schedule, honestly, was an attraction.''

Farrell also believes ownership (Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications owns the Jays) will provide the necessary resources to support a payroll "that will enable us to keep our own players when they reach arbitration and free agency and also add free agents.''

Anthopoulos, meanwhile, also had high praise for Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who finished second to Farrell from among more than 20 original candidates.

"I think DeMarlo is going to be outstanding manager,'' said Anthopoulos. "He's a hidden gem. I don't think people realize how good a baseball man DeMarlo is. He has a real feel for the game and the ability to communicate with players.''

Anthopolous also interviewed third-base coach Tim Bogar in the first round and saluted the Red Sox for the staff they had assembled.

"It's telling that so many candidates came from that staff,'' he said.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox outfield "Win, Dance, Repeat" celebration finds its way on MLB the Show 17

red-sox-outfield-dance-092816.jpg

Red Sox outfield "Win, Dance, Repeat" celebration finds its way on MLB the Show 17

Mooke Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and a mix of Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart and Chris Young brought postgame celebrations to a new level last season.

Most Sox fans are familiar with the outfield victory "Win, Dance, Repeat" where the trio would dance and pretend to photograph the game's best player between them. The celebration ended with a pose at first, but as seen the MLB the Show 17's freshly released trailer, a few more wrinkes were added in.

In fact, here's a taste of the celebrations and what else to expect from Playstation's 2017 MLB game:

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Carlos Beltran, the 39-year-old switch hitter who was a potential target of the Red Sox as a DH, agreed to a free-agent deal with the Houston Astros, ESPN's Buster Olney reported.

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that it's a one-year, $16 million deal. 

Beltran played for the Astros in 2004. He was dealt from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers at the July 31 trading deadline last season. He totaled 35 homers, 101 RBI and hit .295 in 2016. 

The Red Sox, looking to fill the void left by David Ortiz's retirement, will be looking for a DH at the Winter Meetings that begin next week. One possibility is the return of Mike Napoli, who played for the A.L. champion Cleveland Indians last season.

More on the Winter Meetings here from CSN Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam.