The newest and arguably the most important addition to the Toronto Blue Jays organization has never had a lick of experience at the major-league level as a manager.
But everybody who has worked with John Farrell, who will be introduced Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. as the 12th manager in Blue Jays history, all herald the 48-year-old as the right man for the job.
He's obviously had the same impression on Alex Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays general manager, who finally settled on Farrell to replace Cito Gaston.
When the search process began Anthopoulos said one of the most important attributes he'd like to see was experience at the big-league level.
The only major-league coaching experience Farrell will bring to the Toronto job is four years as the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox.
"You could have 100 years of managerial experience and have it not be perfect or have no managerial experience and have it work out great," Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald said in an interview on Sunday. "I think the way I've seen John approach his job in the past, I was surprised he didn't take a manager's job earlier."
McDonald played for the Cleveland Indians for six years where he first got to know Farrell, who served as Indians director of player development from November, 2001 until joining the Sox in November, 2006.
In that role, Farrell oversaw all elements of the club's player-development system, including the organization's six minor-league affiliates and the Latin American programs in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Under his tutelage, the Indians were tabbed by Baseball America as having the No. 1 farm system in professional baseball in 2003.
As the Boston pitching coach the Red Sox - despite playing in the band-box that is Fenway Park - have always ranked among the AL leaders in team ERA.
McDonald was always convinced Farrell would rise to be a major-league manager.
"I felt he always had the respect of the people in the organization," McDonald said when asked why. "He seemed to be a good communicator, which I always thought was important no matter what level you are at.
"When you talked to him you just really believed in what he was saying. He spoke with conviction and he cared about players getting better."
Jays pitcher Casey Janssen said he is intrigued with being able to play for a manager who comes from a pitching background.
"Obviously Cito was a position player so it's going to be interesting to see how things change," Janssen said. "For me it is going to be kind of exciting to have a manager who's going to be able to run the bullpen well and run the rotation. That's kind of where it all starts."
Although news of Farrell's hiring leaked out on Friday night the Blue Jays are still refusing to confirm or deny he has been brought on board.
Even John Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox, is lamenting on the loss of his pitching coach to Boston's American League East rival.
"The Jays are getting a great baseball man and a great person," Henry said in a statement over the weekend. "We were able to keep John as a part of our organization longer than a couple of other teams would have wanted, but it really is time for John to step up to the next level.
"He will be an effective, excellent manager. I expect him to manage in MLB for as long as he wants to. He's going to an excellent young team with a strong and smart hierarchy. The Blue Jays are going to be a force in the AL East for some time to come."
Anthopoulos said the hiring of a new manager is the continuation of a rebuilding process aimed at getting the Blue Jays back into the playoffs.
"We're going to have a very busy off-season," Anthopoulos said on Sunday.
Ferrell was selected over several other finalists, including Cleveland first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Boston bench coach DeMarlo Hale, and Brian Butterfield, the Blue Jays third base coach.
The future remains cloudy for several of the coaches who worked with Gaston.
It is anticipated that Bruce Walton will be retained as pitching coach and there have been reports that Butterfield would wind up as a coach with the Baltimore Orioles if he didn't get the manager's job in Toronto.
That leaves first base coach Omar Malave, hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, bench coach Nick Leyva and bullpen coach Rick Langford all wondering what their future holds. All have been promised jobs within the organization.
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