Toronto's gain is Boston's loss. And make no mistake, this is an enormous loss.
Now-former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell will be missed in Boston. He's going to make an immediate and tangible impact as Toronto's new manager. He's got one of the game's best bench coaches (and future major league manager in waiting) in Brian Butterfield, and a staff of very good young arms as well. His hire, to me, changes the Blue Jays' outlook for the next 5-10 years.
You can cite any stat you want about Boston's pitching last year, but I would guarantee to a man not one pitcher thinks this is a positive development for the Red Sox. This guy is as overqualified as anyone I was ever around, or coached by, at any level. John had the often-missing-skill in pitching coaches: the understanding that your 10-, 11- or 12-man staff was exactly that, 10-12 unique and very different individuals who had to be coached, taught and talked to in very different ways. His ability to instill confidence and ability to teach are at a level only one other man I ever played for had: Johnny Podres.
I always felt like I out-prepared everyone -- whether I did or not, I believed it -- with John at the helm. I always felt like if I missed something, he would know it, he would be there to address it. And whatever I might need on a day I had the ball, he'd be ready for.
His No. 1 asset, though, is his ability to communicate. He's confident without being arrogant, smart without sounding demeaning or superior. People still believe the best managers in the game are the best tacticians and strategists. I've never believed that. The best managers in the game, the best leaders in business, are the people who put their "players" in the best position to succeed every single day, and they communicate that.
"Having his players' backs" is something you'll hear from players when talking about a manager they like or respect. John, like Terry Francona, always had your back, but you had to earn that, it wasn't given to you. There's a huge difference and players know when their guy has it, as well as when he doesn't.
Farrell is not a "veterans" manager or a "young players" manager, he's a "players" manager, and those guys can coach and lead anyone.
Like Buck Showalter in Baltimore, Farrell has a hell of a hill to climb in the AL East. But make no mistake, the division just got tougher, if that's possible. The three perennial favorites are now joined by two guys that will bring their teams, regardless of their talent levels, to play hard, and to play every single night.
Two other names you heard in this process -- Red Sox bench coach Demarlo Hale and Butterfield -- are both future managers. Both are as good as you can find in the coaching ranks. They'll get their shots soon, if not this year, and both are going to be very good major league managers.
Curt Schilling, who pitched for the Red Sox from 2004 to 2008, is a three-time World Series champion, six-time MLB All-Star and founder of 38 Studios. He and his wife, Shonda, have raised money to fight ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) through Curt's Pitch for ALS and have encouraged awareness for sun protection through the SHADE Foundation. They recently announced their support for the Asperger's Association of New England after their third child was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.