Around The Diamond is a weekly series where we’ll preview the Red Sox position-by-position prior to the start of the spring training.
With the 2009 season behind him, Terry Francona will look to lead the Red Sox into the 2010 season with some new players on the diamond. He’ll also be looking to lead them into 2010 with a coaching staff that has shifted to fit the departure of Brad Mills (Now manager for the Houston Astros). Though some may be sitting in different chairs or standing by different bases, this coaching staff is the lifeblood of the Red Sox.
Terry Francona (7th Season)
Terry Francona has had the good fortune of having a front office that will aggressively pursue the talent necessary to put a winning squad on the field year in, year out. He’s also followed two of the more forgettable (or unfortunately unforgettable) managers in recent Sox history in Jimy Williams and Grady Little.
7 seasons later and Red Sox nation has a pretty good idea of what they’re getting out of Francona each year. His hands off approach has kept the fans from really being able to grab on to any particular issues with his coaching style, however 2009 saw an increase in fans questioning whether Francona had gone from hands off approach to falling asleep at the helm.
Terry, like the Sox, is hamstrung by a lack of thump in the middle of the lineup this year, however with Mike Lowell, Bill Hall, Jed Lowry, and Jeremy Hermida all on the bench Terry should have enough managing between the bench and the rotation/bullpen to worry about the offense.
Demarlo Hale (5th Season, four as third-base coach)
This is where the Red Sox are feeling the coaching void the hardest. Terry had been quite open with the media about how comfortable he felt with Brad Mills, however you can’t stay a bench coach forever. So with “Millsy”, as Terry referred to him, Demarlo Hale has moved from his post as 3rd base coach to help Terry run the team a bit more closely.
Demarlo was one of the few 3rd base coaches that wasn’t heckled/chastised by the Boston media over sending guys home. This begs the question; Will Demarlo be as effective as a bench coach as he was as a 3rd base coach?
Dave Magaden (4th Season)
With an offense that has already been nailed to the wall as underwhelming this will undoubtedly be a make or break season for Magaden as the Sox hitting coach. He already had enough heat on him early in 2009 when David Ortiz wasn’t hitting Jacoby Ellsbury’s weight. He was saved by the surging bats of Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay, however both saw their productivity drop as the season wore on as well.
Magaden will have a reclamation project on his hands as well with new 3rd baseman Adrian Beltre. No doubt Magaden will try to resurrect the doubles/home run machine that has laid dormant in Beltre since 2004.
John Farrell (4th Season)
Farrell has received offers to manage ball clubs the past two off seasons, and has again decided to stick it out with the Red Sox for another year. Farrell has been credited with some of the success stories with the Sox. Most notably, Farrell changed Josh Becketts’ delivery heading into his 2007 season which saw Beckett finish with a 20-7 record, 3.27 ERA, and a 2nd place finish in Cy Young Award voting (Oh, and a world series championship!).
This year Farrell’s most watched story lines will be; Which Daisuke shows up this year? Can Jon Lackey perform with the Sox? Is Clay Buchholz ready to pitch a quality full season? Is Daniel Bard ready to close? And of course more story lines will pop up as the season wares on.
Previous “Around the Diamond” posts:Outfield – 2/1