Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke to the media Monday, including Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin.
The former Blue Jays manager addressed a number of topics including his messy exit with the club and whether he is concerned about his perception in Toronto.
On whether he expects negative reaction in Toronto?
“If there is, I thoroughly enjoyed the time there. The two years I spent (in Toronto), the time with the players, the fans were great. Certainly there’s probably even more growing anticipation for the team that’s been assembled, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time there.
On whether he cares about perception with Blue Jays fans…
“I appreciate that people might have differing opinions. All I can do is go about my work day in and day out. People are going to form their own impressions, their own perceptions, and I certainly can’t control that.
Thoughts on Blue Jays’ moves…
“They felt like it was the right thing to do for the organization. I fully respect what their needs were and the approach they took. A lot of good players were brought in.
Did Jays off-season leave any regrets?
“If memory serves me correct, I was traded. … Again, these questions were raised during the winter meetings, and I spent quite a bit of time talking about it at that time. To go back right now, my focus is on what the Red Sox need to do for this season.
Is he is happier in Boston?
“I’m a baseball person, so I don’t know if my life has changed completely. My focus and attention is clearly here. As I’ve stated many times over, my complete commitment is being engaged in our team goals, I’ve stated that many times over. That’s the same approach I take here and now, and that’s getting the Red Sox ready to start the season.
“Because of a lot of existing relationships, I think we’ve been able to hit the ground running, been able to address some of the needs we had roster-wise throughout the off-season. You can never really go back in time, but the working relationship has been great.
On his decision to travel to Dunedin Monday…
“I don’t think it’s unusual. We’ve got decisions to make in camp. To be able to see two young pitchers that will serve as our depth,I think (gives us) a pretty accurate read against a pretty good hitting team. This was an important day to come here to see those two guys. That’s not to overlook anybody else that’s taking the mound, or guys that are in (Monday’s) lineup, but these are two guys we’ve had a lot of discussions about internally throughout the off-season. This is the first chance to get a look at them in games.
On Adam Lind’s criticism…
“We worked every day to bring the best out of every player, so unfortunately a lot of things didn’t work out as we had hoped. I respect every player’s opinions and every player’s thoughts. My attention is here and now.
Will he talk to his former team?
“I’ve had a chance to talk to a number of people that are in the front office already here. Those relationships and those experiences you share with guys in uniform they don’t go away. I hope there’s time to say hello to a number of people.
Does he see Monday as regular season tune-up?
“April will get here when it does. We’ve got a lot of work to do right now, I’m certainly not looking too far ahead but how that unfolds, we’ll see. I fully respect that team, they’ve got a darn good team and we’re looking forward to competing against them.
Earlier on Monday, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos joined the Jeff Blair Show to dicuss his team’s first game against their former manager.
Alex Anthopoulos isn’t concerning himself with John Farrell anymore.
With his Blue Jays playing the Red Sox so frequently during spring training and the regular season, Anthopoulos says he has moved on and has no hard feelings after Farrell was traded to Boston in the off-season.
“I know it’s a story and it’s always going to be a story but we see each other at the winter meetings and we play them 19 times or whatever it is,” Anthopoulos said Monday on the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet the 590 The Fan. “(Monday) is an event of sorts. To me it’s just some other game. We play them so often…I think you have to move on and turn the page. I am a believer everything does happen for a reason. Maybe it’s why a guy like (John) Gibbons is here now. I do think it all works out in the end.”
The Blue Jays general manager is not buying into the media frenzy surrounding Farrell facing his former team for the first time and is instead focused on monitoring the players that will be on his roster come April.
Anthopoulos says he has already noticed an improved energy level in the clubhouse and he is happy to have a veteran group for the first time during his tenure with the Blue Jays.
“(The) biggest thing is that it’s an older clubhouse but these guys know what they need to get ready,” Anthopoulos said. “It’s nice but we’ve been young and given a lot of opportunities. To have experienced guys, it’s a nice mix. Now, J.P., Colby, Brett are the young guys now and it’s really good to see.”
Anthopoulos — who is anxious to finalize his team’s 25-man roster — is also taking a different approach to evaluating his players this spring.
Despite being impressed with Colby Rasmus’ swing and Anthony Gose’s defence, he is trying not to put much emphasis on what he sees in the early parts of camp.
“(This is) one of the first springs I’m trying not to put any stock into anything,” he said. “One thing is you always have guys get hot at the beginning and as the spring goes on, they get exposed a bit. Brad Mills jumps to mind. Dirk Hayhurst had an unbelievable spring. (Aaron) Laffey last year. The last two weeks are usually telling.”
One area he is keeping a close eye on is the bullpen, where the Blue Jays have a number of players in competition for roster spots.
On Saturday, the Blue Jays added another arm to the bullpen mix when they acquired reliever Michael Schwimer from the Philadelphia Phillies.
“He’s got options left and that’s a big part of the appeal. Brett Cecil and Jeremy Jeffress are out of options and are ahead of him to make this team. We don’t see a lot of downside. Big strikeout totals and for us, he’ll be good depth for us. Well need relievers one way or the other.”
One reliever they will surely need is Casey Janssen, who is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Anthopoulos says Janssen remains on track to start the season and he’ll be back in the closer’s role once he returns.
“We’re optimistic he’ll start the season,” Anthopoulos explained. “(He) could be delayed a week. Assuming health, Casey is the closer to start the year. You can never have too many arms in the pen. If he has to be delayed a week or so, we’ll have to adjust.”
New ace R.A. Dickey will make his spring debut for the Blue Jays Monday against the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays have ensured catcher J.P. Arencibia, who will catch Dickey during the game Monday, will get some time to work with the reigning NL Cy Young award winner before they both leave camp to play for the United States at the World Baseball Classic.
“I asked J.P. (Arencibia) that specifically,” he said. “He hasn’t been told yet. No idea if he’ll catch him at the (WBC). The best chance is early in spring for a two-inning look. We don’t expect him to be great. Understand that it’s going to be hard. We talked to (Henry) Blanco and (Josh) Thole — you can’t worry about being embarrassed. Good experience for him.”