I meant to link to this story, by John Lott, in the National Post, the other day, but life got in the way. In it John Farrell talks about what he feels he could have done better this year.
Finishing his first season as the Jays manager, Farrell said Wednesday that he needs to do a better job of managing his bullpen and his bench next year.
I thought, by the middle of the season, he was doing a much better job with the bullpen, other than continuing to use Jon Rauch in the closer role. That righted itself when Rauch went down with injuries. At the end of the season, he seemed to have figured out how he wanted to use his pen.
The bench? Minus that he used some guys, especially early in the season, in the everyday lineup, who we would have been far better off to have had sitting on the bench (Nix, Patterson, Rivera) I don't have too many worries about how he used the bench. The end of the season wasn't pretty, with all the injuries, he was forced to use many of the bench players, but that's not Farrell's fault.
I have some disagreements with his choices for batting order. I could have done without Mike McCoy leading off, I know we had injuries about all but McCoy, as much as I like him, shouldn't be leading off. I'm not a fan of Jose Bautista batting 3rd but I'm not going to win that one. And Adam Lind spent most of the season showing that he shouldn't have been hitting in the cleanup spot. But then, I doubt we'd be more than a game or two better if Farrell had used the perfect batting order each game.
I'm not a fan of bunts with runners on first and second and we did that a few more times than I'd like. And sometimes he'd order bunts without, it seemed, taking into account who following the bunter in the batting order. We also had too many moments when it, at least, looked like someone missed a hit and run sign. This might not be the manager's fault but he has to fix it, to make sure it doesn't continue to happen.
In the story, Farrell also gave his off-season wish list:
He also would love to see general manager Alex Anthopoulos acquire a starting pitcher who can work 200 "quality innings." And he hinted that would appreciate a proven leadoff batter so Yunel Escobar can move down in the lineup and drive in more runs.
Rickey Romero was the only pitcher to top 200 innings (225), Brandon Morrow was next when 179.1 innings. I'm not sure if he is hinting that the team should go after Yu Darvish, who pitch 202 innings, in 2010 for the Nippon Ham team in Japan. I'm sure every team would like to have another starter that could give them 200 innings.
As far as leadoff men are concerned, I'm happy with Yunel. I'd glad leave him in the leadoff spot. I wouldn't mind finding someone that gets on base a little more often than Eric Thames batting second, but moving Escobar out of the leadoff spot would be well down on my list of things we need to do this winter.
Anyway, what do you think of John Farrell's first season as a manager?