John Farrell ‘Ecstatic’ About Signing Contract Extension With Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox’s contract negotiations with manager John Farrell were quick, quiet and effective. Just how the skipper likes it.

The Red Sox announced Saturday that Farrell signed a two-year contract extension that runs through 2017 with a club option for 2018. General manager Ben Cherington said Boston prioritized inking Farrell to a new deal before spring training. The manager happily obliged.

“I’m ecstatic to have the extension, to be able to work alongside Ben and (assistant general manager) Mike (Hazen) and many others in our front office,” Farrell said Saturday at JetBlue Park. “This is a very special place. To be able to be here at least the number of years that are in place, we don’t take for granted one moment what the expectations are and how we have to deliver on those expectations.

“The fact that it was handled the way it was, very low key, which is preferred on my part,” Farrell added of his contract talks. “I always feel the focus should always remain on the players, and that will always be the case. But (I’m) ecstatic about this coming together.”

Farrell, who was hired in October 2012, led the Red Sox to a World Series title in his first season at the helm. His second campaign in Boston was far different, as the club stumbled to a last-place finish in the American League East.

But Farrell, despite pulling a few wrong strings at times, never has lost his players’ trust. It’s a strong foundation on which Boston can build for the next three seasons, at least.

“I think one of the main things is being able to connect with all of the players and the different types of players that we have in our clubhouse,” said Farrell, a players’ manager who also carries an authoritative voice. “I don’t know that you can prioritize one over the other. They’re equally important. But I think in the time that we’re now playing this game, it’s important that you’re honest and communicate consistently with the guys who come through the clubhouse and that they know that you have their back.”

Farrell is operating in Boston on the heels of two lackluster seasons as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Each opportunity represents a learning experience, though, and Farrell still looks back fondly on his previous stint with the Red Sox, during which he served as the pitching coach for four seasons (2007-10) under former Boston manager and current Cleveland Indians skipper Terry Francona.

“Those four years were invaluable, because the different personalities that every team is going to have and the focal point that our team, the Red Sox, can be in New England, certainly in Boston. He defused so many things that nobody ever saw,” said Farrell, who remains close friends with Francona. “The way he dealt with guys in his office. Again, he subscribed to the same view, that the game is still about the players.

“For us to lose sight of how difficult this game is to play would be shortsighted on our part, and to have some compassion toward players when times of challenge are there, they’re going to feel your support. His example was invaluable.”

It would have been easy — even reasonable — for Farrell to mull over his future after the Red Sox finished 71-91 in 2014. Sure, the Sox won it all in 2013. But this is Boston we’re talking about. Success isn’t just desired. It’s expected and demanded.

Yet Farrell maintained his usual approach. Realistic. Focused. Determined.

“I’ve never gone to work overly concerned with the contract. I subscribe to the fact of, ‘What can we do today to the best of our abilities?’ ” Farrell said Saturday. “It’s a model, it’s a slogan that we subscribe to here of, ‘How are we going to chase winning tonight?’ What that means as far as status contractually, from the bottom of my heart, I never really considered it.”

Farrell won’t have to consider it much this season, either. The Red Sox have their guy. And thus they moved swiftly to lock him up.

Thumbnail photo via Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press

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