Farrell shoots down manager talk
Sox's pitching coach concentrating on playoffs, not opening
BOSTON -- As the Indians finish out the 2009 season with lame-duck manager Eric Wedge in their dugout at Fenway Park, their next skipper very well may be sitting in the dugout across the field.
On the lips of fans and in the words of scribes, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell's name has been bandied about as a potential candidate for the Tribe's managerial job for months -- long before the Indians made the ousting of Wedge and his coaches official.
The reasons to suggest Farrell, 47, as a candidate for the job are obvious. For one, he has a history with the Indians as a pitcher from 1987-90 and again in '95 and as the club's farm director from November 2001 to the end of '06. But he's also had enough success outside the organization in his current role to give him credibility and suggest that he could lend a fresh perspective to an organization that is obviously in need of one.
Trouble is, Farrell still has work to do. And when asked about the Indians' managerial opportunity Friday, he didn't bite.
"I'm committed to the Red Sox, and my whole focus right now is to prepare for the postseason," Farrell said. "We've got three games left, and from [a] pitching standpoint, we have to get some things in order, to make sure that guys come out of those games healthy. The whole focus right now is on our pitchers and getting prepared for the playoffs."
Another well-documented matter that might prevent Farrell from moving to another organization is his contract. It's become common knowledge that he has a clause in that contract stating that he may not leave the Red Sox for a managerial post elsewhere until after the 2010 season. But it's believed that clause can be negotiated away.
Farrell, who still resides in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake in the offseason, was reminded that he's a very popular man among Tribe fans right now.
"Out of respect for the entire Indians organization -- which is a tremendous amount of respect for them -- and a lot of friends on that [current] staff, that's all I have to say," Farrell said. "I'm committed here, and the focus is where it is."
Farrell, who is finishing up his third season as the Red Sox's pitching coach, has zero managerial experience at any level. His only other coaching experience came after he retired as a pitcher, when he spent five seasons from 1997-2001 as the assistant coach/pitching and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State University.
It came as a bit of a surprise when Farrell left the Indians' farm director's post to join manager Terry Francona's staff in Boston, as some viewed Farrell as a potential general manager-in-waiting. But the line on Farrell at the time was that he could succeed in either the front office or the dugout, and he's lived up to that potential so far.
"There's such a broad scope in being involved with running a farm system," Farrell said. "[As a pitching coach], it's a much more concentrated scope that is not any less volume. You're just dealing with a smaller number of players, and you're becoming more involved on a personal level, as far as the players and what their current needs are and how they're dealing with the challenges and the stress of not only the city they're playing in, but also the Major League level and just trying to get the most consistent performance you can."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.