John Farrell’s Focus on Earning Player Trust, Building Relationships Will Allow Red Sox to Move Forward

John Farrell's Focus on Earning Player Trust, Building Relationships Will Allow Red Sox to Move ForwardJohn Farrell was
introduced as the 46th manager of the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, but in the
days leading up to his news conference, it was clear that he had already gotten
to work.

Exchanging text messages, voicemails and phone calls with
his future players, the former pitching coach wasted no time reaching out to
the Red Sox, beginning to rekindle old relationships and preparing to forge new
ones.

As far as major league managing goes, working with players is a key facet of the job
description — and one that the new skipper recognized will be crucial from the
get-go.

"There's gonna be challenges, tough conversations to have
with individual players," Farrell admitted. "But the willingness to
have those candid conversations and be upfront is where you earn that trust
day in and day out."

That is the trust that former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine never earned with his
players, or perhaps it is the trust that he lost when he candidly criticized Kevin Youkilis early on in the 2011 season.
That moment quickly poisoned the waters between Valentine and his team, and it
became readily apparent in the coming months that the relationship never
recovered.

Farrell will face a similar challenge of earning the trust
of the players — re-earning it, in some players' cases — but compared to the many
faux pas that Bobby V committed along the way, it should be a piece of cake for
Farrell to raise the bar of player-manager relations.

Still, the skipper is not going to take anything for granted.

"I will work my butt off to earn their trust, to earn
their respect," the 50-year-old Farrell declared. "If that's being
described as a players' manager, then that's what I am."

That "players' manager" label is sure to be a
welcome one for ears inside the Red Sox clubhouse, considering how the team
thrived under like-minded Terry Francona.
Eventually, however, that label became a derisive one, with reports of a
fragmented, clique-filled clubhouse characterizing the latter days of
Francona's tenure.

That will be the challenge for Farrell in the coming days: to make sure he connects with all of his players, not simply the ones he
knew in his days as the Red Sox pitching coach. It shouldn't be too
difficult, however, because the team seems ready to embrace a chance at
remaking its clubhouse culture.

Steering the Red Sox back onto the right path in 2013 will
not be an easy task, and it is sure to take plenty of work from the front
office, the players and their manager alike. But they all seem prepared to put in that effort, with Ferrell now at the helm from the first-base dugout.

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