The ink is not yet dry on John Farrell’s new contract to manage the Toronto Blue Jays but his former team has to begin work to fill his shoes. Doing so will not be easy. Farrell not only expertly guided the Red Sox’ staff over the past four years but his baseball acumen and presence in the clubhouse was exemplary.
As many other coaching staffs are being put together across major league baseball, the Sox may have to wait for some of the dust to settle before exploring candidates from outside the organization.
However, there are a few inside the club that might deserve a look. Here is a quick glance at some of those candidates:
Rich Sauveur – The current pitching coach at Pawtucket has worked at one time or another with several of the Red Sox pitchers, including Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. The PawSox had the second-lowest ERA in the International League in Sauveur’s first year in that role in 2008.
A former knuckleballer, Sauveur, 46, spent the bulk of his 18-year professional career in the minors but did make appearances with six different major league teams.
Bob Kipper – The pitching coach one level below Sauveur at Double-A Portland, Kipper has been on the Red Sox’ staff before, serving as the bullpen coach in 2002. Aside from that he has been a pitching coach within the system for the better part of 10 years, taking on the role at several different levels.
The many stops have allowed him to work with several current Red Sox hurlers. He was Buchholz’s pitching coach at Single-A Greenville back in 2006.
Kipper was 27-37 in 271 career games at the major league level with California, Pittsburgh and Minnesota from 1985-92.
Gary Tuck – Boston’s bullpen coach since 2007 and a highly regarded catching instructor throughout the majors, Tuck would represent a departure from the norm in the sense that he was not a pitcher during his playing days. Of the current pitching coaches in the majors only Dave Duncan in St. Louis was a former catcher.
Tuck has earned rave reviews from both players and fellow coaches for his work with the catchers in the Red Sox’ system since joining the organization in 2007. He has also served as a bench coach at the major league level and managed for several seasons in the Houston, Cleveland and New York Yankee’s organizations.
When Farrell missed a game late in the season due to an illness, Tuck stepped in as the pitching coach. He is mighty valuable in his current role and appears to relish the work, so moving him may not be easy and it would simply present another hole to fill. But if they Sox wanted to go a different direction they may want to look at Tuck.