It hasn’t even been 24 hours since his hiring was officially announced, but John Farrell is already making some great moves, or non-moves that is.
First, John announced that both Brian Butterfield and Bruce Walton will remain on his coaching staff. Not only does that allows for consistency in the coaching style and approach, but in also makes the players feel like they “know” someone in the staff that they can bring any issues to and already have a rapport with. If John would have overhauled the staff, players may have internalized certain issues or dealt with them between themselves, which is counter-productive.
Having said that, John is apparently still in talks with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, who may be the sole victim of this staff. The Boston approach at the plate is about a 180 turn from what the Jays approach was last season. I’m not certain that it was Murphy’s call to go with the free swinging approach, or whether it was simply Cito Gaston, but if John Farrell has any hope of tightening the way people swing in Toronto, in hopes of working more counts and hiring pitch counts of opposing pitchers, then he may have to let Dwayne go. I’m not sure what the “right” approach is for the 2011 version of the Jays lineup, but I can honestly say that it was extremely enjoyable to watch the Jays hammer the ball the way they did in 2010. I just wish there would have been someone on base, which was rare because of “the apprach”. It seems to me that splitting the swinging approach between the power guys and the on base guys would go a long way to ensuring more success and RBI opportunities in 2011. Whether or not Dwayne is the guy for that job, I’m not sure, and it seems like John Farrell isn’t either or he would have announced the keeping of Dwayne on board at the same time as the Butterfield and Walton announcements.
Greatest quotes from John thus far:
"“The greatest gift I think we (his brother and four sisters) were given was a work ethic.”and“That’s all about earning respect, and I know I’ve got to earn the respect of everybody on this roster and that begins immediately.”"
That bodes well for the Jays and for their chances of making the playoffs some time in the near future. Respect is something that was missing under John Gibbons, and work ethic may have been Cito Gaston’s only weakness as he was looking at retirement. I expect that the combination of these 2 aspects, along with trumendous baseball experience and leadership abilities, will make John a big success in Toronto.
To add to my previous piece about Manny Ramirez’s chances of becoming a Blue Jay, here’s a hint at what’s to come from Alex Anthopolous:
"“You look at the diversity of the players he dealt with in Boston, in that market with the egos and especially with the jump that he made from a farm director to that level, the success he enjoyed and the way players respected him was telling to me.”"
That doesn’t imply that he will in fact bring Manny Ramirez in, but it does say that he expects egos and diversity to be a part of the Blue Jay brand. That includes guys like Manny Ramirez, could imply a Matt Kemp type player, or could simply be what he expects from Toronto’s rising stars. Either way, Alex wanted someone who could handle those issues so that it opened up the chances of the Jays bringing in those high calibre players. Great stuff.
Pat Tabler parralled what he expects from John Farrell and the 2011 Toronto Blue Jays to what we saw this season from Buddy Black and the San Diego Padres. While I do agree that the Jays could surprise in the same way SD did, I certainly hope our bats will be better and that our season will go deeper into the playoffs!