The St. Louis Cardinals need a new pitching coach and the former Red Sox manager is without a job. Could the two be a good fit?
The St. Louis Cardinals fired their pitching coach Derek Lilliquist at the conclusion of the 2017 season. Almost immediately after that news broke, the Boston Red Sox fired their incumbent manager, John Farrell. In Tuesday night’s podcast, Tito tossed out the idea of Farrell coming to the St. Louis Cardinals as the next pitching coach.
Is this a crazy idea or one that just might be a great fit? Let’s take a look.
First, let’s take a look at Farrell the ballplayer. John Farrell, now 55 years old, was drafted in 1980 by the Oakland Athletics out of Shore Regional High School in Monmouth Beach, NJ. Farrell did not sign in 1980 and was again drafted in 1983 by the Cleveland Indians after he had attended Oklahoma State University. The Indians lost out too as Farrell did not sign then either.
Jump one year forward and the Indians came calling once again. This time, in 1984, Farrell signed with the Indians after they drafted him in the second round of that year’s amateur draft.
A pitcher by trade, Farrell appeared in the Indians organization in single-A and triple-A in the 1984 season. He spent the next three years in Cleveland’s minors. His best season in the minors was in 1986 when he went 9-10 with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.223 WHIP. This was a season spent entrenched at AA.
Outside of 1986, Farrell’s other minor league seasons did not fare so well with ERAs posting in the 5s. That aside, he was promoted to the majors in August of 1987– a season in which he had tossed 156 innings in AAA with a 5.83 ERA. In the majors in 1987, Farrell tossed 69 innings posting a 3.39 ERA behind a record of 5-1 in 10 game appearances.
After a turbulent season in 1990 with time split between Cleveland and their AA-affiliate, Farrell spent the 1991 season away from baseball due to injury and was granted free agency in November of 1991. He again missed the 1992 season due to injury but was picked up by the California Angels in February of 1992 (which was the season he went on to miss).
Farrell was never really an outstanding pitcher and closed his eight-season baseball career with a 4.56 ERA across 698.2 innings pitched.
Upon leaving MLB in 1992, Farrell returned to Oklahoma State University where he served as assistant coach and pitching and recruiting coordinator (*cough*cough* listening, St. Louis Cardinals?) in 1997. He remained at OSU until 2001 when the Cleveland Indians added John to their player development department– he served as director.
Farrell’s efforts of recruitment and player development with the Indians afforded the Cleveland team MLB organizaiton of the year in 2003 and 2004 by USA Today. In addition, the 2003 Cleveland teams were noted as having the best farm system in professional baseball by Baseball America.
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It was 2006 when Farrell entered the dugout but first as the pitching coach for the Red Sox where he joined Terry Francona who was a former teammate of his. Farrell’s pitching coach success- and undoubtedly the baseball knowledge sent to him by Francona- was recognized and John received his first managerial posting in Toronto.
Farrell had an up-and-down time in Toronto and left the Canadian team in 2012. He left with a record of 154-170. He accepted the managerial role for Boston in 2012 and remained there until the conclusion of the 2017 season. His record with Boston ended at 432-378.
With his recent dismissal, it could be suggested that Farrell might do well to take a step away from baseball (maybe into the television booth). Or, to the betterment of the St. Louis Cardinals, join the birds on the bat as the next pitching coach? Would a return to his successful roots of pitching coach and recruiting help him and help the Cardinals simultaneously?
To help with the debate, I turned to Redbird Rants’ own Josh McDonald and asked for a visualization:
What do you think? Would you like to see this face making trips to the mound? Looking back at history, do you believe that the St. Louis Cardinals would have stood a better chance of landing an arm like David Price had Farrell been the pitching coach?
And how about the impact to Mike Matheny? It is completely my belief that Matheny needs to be made better and that is not going to happen with ‘yes’ men in the dugout. Farrell is known for his strong personality and I believe this is precisely what Matheny needs.
Am I crazy to suggest this sort of thing? We won’t have to wait too long as Mozeliak reported today that the St. Louis Cardinals would have their pitching coach selected by the first of November. Stay tuned!