It’s that time of year as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training this week. The Boston Red Sox reported to Fort Myers, Fla., this past Tuesday.
John Farrell embarks on his first spring training as Red Sox manager looking to erase the memories of a disappointing 2012 season. Farrell has high expectations for his ball club and believes the Red Sox have the talent to contend. John Farrell joined WEEI in Boston with Dennis and Callahan to discuss Red Sox players moving on from last year, the Red Sox having a good chance to win the American League East, Daniel Bard getting back on track, rules that are important for his teams and what he wants Red Sox fans to know about this team.
Are Red Sox players upset about what happened last year or ready to move on?
“I think the most important thing is that they are eager to get going. To a man they are going to be a little different whether it is based on personal performance or how the team performed as a whole, but again, the most important thing is what we can control and that is today and beyond, and stay in a positive frame of mind.”
Do you think the Red Sox can win the American League East this season?
“I do, yes. And that’s fine [that predictions have the Sox finishing fourth or fifth]. People are going to think what they want, project what they care to. But I think this team has got a lot of depth, a lot of talent. There’s balance. When you look at the lineup up and down, there’s speed, there’s power, there’s left-right balance. Our bullpen emerged as a strength of a year ago, and that’s been fortified with [Joel] Hanrahan coming in here. We know that the rotation is the area that we’ve got to get more consistent innings, higher number of quality innings from the group of five. You look at any team, the deeper they go into a season contending or into the postseason, in large part is probably because of the performance of that rotation. I think this team has the talent to contend and ultimately win this division.”
Can you fix Daniel Bard?
“Daniel’s healthy, he’s got a lot of talent. Those are ingredients for him to return to the performance of before. I do know this: As we get into spring training and as we get into some of that positive reinforcement or results on the field, it will help build back that confidence that we saw, a dominant late-inning reliever. So, the ingredients are there, we’ve just got to put them back in place and get him on track.”
What are the John Farrell rules?
“To be on time. To be accountable to one another, including yourself. And to respect the game. And that’s a broad brush, that respecting the game, because some people will say, ‘Well, what does that mean?’ The preparation that you go through, the way that you conduct yourself on the field — whether that’s on the mound, with some questionable calls by an umpire, whether that’s what you have on a given day to get down the baseline. And we know because we go every day, some days it’s going to be 90 percent, because for travel or some other reasons. But give what you have on a given day. Those three things are probably my basic rules. And I think that provides the boundaries for everyone to live under.”
What would you like the Red Sox fans to know this year?
“You have my word that we are going to work and prepare to put together the best possible game plan on a given night, to make the game the most important focal point on a given day — not anything individually that leads up to it. That’s the message that I hope to convey and establish here. And I think the type of people that are inside this uniform, that have been brought in, have a track record of that. And I think this will be a team that will be a hard-nosed team that people will identify with.”