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Merrimack Valley

October 30, 2006

Farrell becomes Sox's'picking'coach, too

The Bradford Files

Rob Bradford

Within the Red Sox's seemingly cut-and-dried transition from one pitching coach to another, two lines showed there was a bit more to this transaction than at first glance.

"I think the thing I find most disappointing is that in four years nobody ever asked my opinion about bringing in a player." - former Boston pitching Dave Wallace to the Boston Globe.

"Farrell has also supervised the signing of all minor league free agents while assisting in major league player acquisitions." - a portion of the Red Sox press release on the hiring of new pitching coach John Farrell.

After too many pitching acquisition misses in the past few seasons, the Sox are at least attempting to plug a hole in their approach. Helping try to stem the tide of mediocre maneuvering will be none other than Boston's new pitching coach.

"There have been discussions on that, yes," Farrell said from his Ohio home, regarding his new team's request for input on potential pitching acquisitions. "As to specifics, first and foremost, we have to see how the free-agent pool is defined and then we'll have conversations at that time, which is consistent with what I did in Cleveland."

The days of underutilizing the expertise of the pitching coach when considering outside talent, as Wallace referred to, have come and gone. While Farrell might be a professional novice when it comes to acting as an in-uniform coach, having performed the task only at Oklahoma State, entering the decision-making process regarding free agents is anything but foreign.

Not only was Farrell charged with the responsibility of weeding out the future big league hurlers while serving as Cleveland's farm director, but he also played a major role assisting Indians general manager Mark Shapiro diagnosing the good from the bad in the open market.

"This past free-agent class with Paul Byrd is one example," explained Farrell, referring to the pitcher Cleveland signed to a two-year, $14.25 million deal last offseason. "I was just giving opinions, but here's someone who has a consistent track record in regards to his health. And then you look deeper into the pitcher's history, his delivery, the stress on certain body parts, and how that style would fit into your current rotation and complement and offset power arms such as Cliff Lee or (C.C.) Sabathia. You have to look at the entire rotation instead of just the one pitcher by himself.

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