There is no tolerance for poor performance. We have John Farrell to thank for clubhouse climate change. (Seems he has also had a positive effect on the weather.) Only winning is allowed in Boston. Come hell or tight games, like the one played on Wednesday, Farrell will deliver. We saw the mistakes of managers of the past and asked ourselves, “Why does it seem that [insert manager’s name here] is not making any decisions?” Nope, 2013 is the year of decisions and managerial strategy. There is a new sheriff in town. Sheriff Farrell’s rules are simple: shape up or ship out. You either produce, or it is time for you to go. There are plenty of people waiting in the wings to fill your spot in the lineup, while you work on fielding and at-bats at one of the Red Sox farm affiliates.
For instance, Farrell told reporters on Thursday that the decision to move Alfredo Aceves down to Pawtucket was solely performance based. The same goes for outstanding performances by players in Pawtucket or Portland. Great examples reside in Daniel Bard earning his way back to the mound Thursday night. With all the talent that we have in the minor leagues, so many guys nipping at the major league players’ heels, it creates an atmosphere of excellence and a little bit of fear. Fear is a motivator. I think we have seen this fear take hold of Clay Buchholz. Even when he performs well, we see at press conferences that he wants to do even better. He is not satisfied. That is fear. He hears the feet of those who want his place in the rotation pounding behind him.
Farrell is throwing every bit of talent he has at the game. This is not about playing guys who are highest on the payroll. This is a meritocracy. It seems, as far as pitching, third base, and some of the outfield positions are concerned, he has not come out of Spring Training mode. He changes things up in the middle of games. He moves players like Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes between right and left field, or even first base. Pitching, clearly his bread and butter, is where he makes constant changes. In the last week alone, we have seen Steven Wright, Allen Webster, and Bard come up and down between the farms and the majors.
No stone will be left unturned when looking for talent. It is exciting for fans to see new players on the field. It is exciting to see Farrell, ever the mad strategist, at work. It is the beginning of a great season. 2013: the year of decisions, zero tolerance for losing, and sky-high expectations.