Farrell Q&A: Aceves, Lester, SS, coaches

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell, appearing at the team's "Christmas at Fenway" event Saturday at the ballpark, touched on a number of topics with reporters.

On whether he has been involved in recruiting free agents: "To varying degrees. That's probably more related to where we are in certain stages with individual guys. I certainly anticipate that being the case going forward."

On whether he has spoken with Alfredo Aceves, who was tendered a contract Friday: "Briefly. We've had some brief conversations, a number of messages left. Colorful. He's a talented pitcher. He can do some things in the game, he may be the only guy who can do them. With the frequency with which he can pitch, to the number of pitches that are thrown, he's a talented guy.

"From my standpoint, the approach taken is to be candid with him, to be consistent with him, both in terms of what we value in guy's approach, but as best can be communicated to him in his role. That will evolve going forward, but I think the most important thing is for him to understand where he sits with us, how we view him, and what his role is, then he can best prepare for that."

Asked whether he has made a determination of what Aceves' role will be, Farrell said: "Not definitively. We certainly feel the frequency of his availability as a reliever is a major asset."

On speaking to pitcher Jon Lester, and addressing with Lester the speculation that the left-hander could be traded: "You take the temperature of their reaction, of what could initially be there. And I know Jon, in his own words, wants to prove a number of people wrong. And I said, ‘Before we go that far, look at it as a positive, that you're a good player. Teams inquire about good players all the time. You can't change the opinion of others by what you do right now. You can by performing to your capabilities, and that's where our focus has to be.'

"He's a Red Sock. I think any time that first rumor gets out there, it's going to be a little startling for guys. But I know one thing: He's extremely motivated and he's working his tail off right now to have a very strong year."

Farrell said he has had conversations with catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway, who also have been mentioned in trade talk.

"I think it's important to communicate with guys what the thought is, and this is a starting point. Certainly not the end come April 1."

Farrell said he has not decided whether he will be visiting with any players.

On whether he would be surprised if the Sox traded one of their front-line starting pitchers: "Anything is a possibility, but until we get there, I'm planning on everyone who is on the roster to be here. We have some work to do to get guys back to the levels they were before, and that's where the focus is right now.

"Ben [Cherington] is going to put together a damn good roster, and I'm fully confident in that."

On whether there has been any discussion on moving Ryan Lavarnway to first base: "We haven't had those discussions, because there is so much focus and emphasis on his development, that's where the focus continues to be. With his offensive production as a catcher, he's putting himself in a small group. There's some work to be done there, but that's where the focus is."

On whether he'd like to see greater depth at shortstop: "That's a conversation that's ongoing. It's December 1st. I know the winter meetings are starting and the market is taking shape and things will start falling in place, but that's all part of a number of moving parts."

On Pedro Ciriaco: "When you consider he was a minor league free agent, he was a darn good player. He's athletic, can do a number of things. I know there was an attempt to put him in center field, which when you look at a player with his skill set, that's a natural thing. If he can play center field, boy, his value really starts to increase.

"Good first-step quickness, plenty of arm strength to play anywhere on the field, I don't want to say he was a great find, but he was a heck of an addition when you consider how he came to the big leagues."

On hiring Victor Rodriguez as assistant hitting coach: "Victor does have a lot of relationships with guys on this club and throughout the system, and whoever the lead hitting coach was coming in, once we named that person Victor was a very easy match to that to give a lot of background information and be able to contribute in his own right. Victor is going to be a very strong addition to this staff."

On taking his coaching staff to the team's training facility in Fort Myers for a two-day session next Friday and Saturday after the winter meetings: "With the exception of Gary Tuck, Arnie Beyeler and Victor, we've never laid eyes on that complex. To have some understanding of it, to plan spring training, so when we start there's no hidden element to this, I think this will give us a leg up on training for spring training."

Farrell brought the Blue Jays to Fort Myers last spring a couple of times, so he has seen it.

Bench coach Torey Lovullo will be charged with planning big league spring training, Farrell said. The team's advance scouting team and some other front-office staff will also attend the session in the Fort.

On Franklin Morales coming to camp preparing to be a starter: "You can always go back the other way," he said. "But what he did in the rotation the time he was in it was very impressive. Not to say how our rotation is going to look, but he did a good job."

On the importance of adding stars: "You're never not going to want or take talented players. But more important to that is the success of the team has got that team concept buy-in. That's not only an area that's being talked about with players that have been here, but what we're looking to add to it. How we work collectively, how we work together and compete together, you can have a group of individuals but if there's no common thread I think that's just going to make the challenge more difficult."