BOSTON — When Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen and new Boston manager John Farrell first worked together in 2001, Hazen was thoroughly impressed and thought Farrell would wind up becoming a big league GM someday.
At that time, Hazen and Farrell, who was introduced here at Fenway Park yesterday, were working in the Cleveland Indians front office. Hazen was an intern and Farrell was the Indians director of player development.
“He commanded a tremendous amount of respect (as farm director),” said Hazen, who served as Red Sox farm director from 2007-11. “Intelligent. He held his staff accountable. He held the players accountable. ... and really probably sowed the seeds for that 2007 Indians teams that we (the Red Sox) faced in the ALCS.”
It should be extremely interesting to see the type of roster the Red Sox build this offseason through trades and free agency, particularly in terms of strengthening pitching, with Farrell and newly-appointed baseball operations special assistant Jason Varitek, a former All-Star catcher, helping in the process.
A strong comfort level already exists between Farrell, Hazen, Varitek and GM Ben Cherington. Farrell and Cherington have known each other for approximately 10 years. The relationship between those four men obviously strengthened when Farrell was Red Sox pitching coach from 2007-10.
That existing comfort level will allow them as well as others in management to have tough conversations right away, Hazen said. It will allow them to get down to business immediately in terms of player-personnel unlike last year when the search for a manager stalled until late November and everything else stalled thereafter.
What type of tough conversations will take place?
“Maybe questioning roster decisions, current state of the roster, player performance, role of the coaching staff ... (and) the contributions of the farm system or the lack thereof that went into last season,” Hazen said. “It’s extremely important for us to turn the page on 2012 and for John to be able to start having those challenging conversations.