As the Toronto Blue Jays named former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell their new manager on Monday, they also caught the attention of a former Boston player.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t a pitcher but one of most celebrated, and at times loathed, hitters in recent memory – Manny Ramirez.
Just a few weeks ago the Jays closed out a successful 85-win season and began their search for a new bench boss with the departure of Cito Gaston, deciding Farrell was the man for the job.
Ramirez praised Toronto for its newest hire.
“John has tremendous knowledge of the game, a very pleasant man and he trains ballplayers,” the 12-time all-star said to ESPNdeportes.com. “Toronto has made a great acquisition.”
Landing Farrell caught the attention of the 38-year-old slugger who will be a free agent after the World Series, and has his sights set on possibly migrating north for next season.
“Farrell is a manager for whom I would like to play, and Toronto is a team I’ve liked since they had all those Dominican players in the ’80s,” said Ramirez.
Though the two-time World Series champion batted a respectable .298 this past season, he hit only nine home runs and 42 RBIs during a down year. Much of the pedestrian statistics could be the result of injuries as Ramirez was limited to 265 at-bats due to knee and groin issues.
Knowing health held him back in 2010, the Dominican Republic native opted to have surgery this off-season to repair the hernia in his left groin. Moving to the American League after a two-year stint in the National League with the Los Angeles Dodgers would allow Ramirez to move to the designated hitter position, limiting his chances of injury.
“I still have a lot of baseball left in me,” Ramirez said. “I think that I can still bat if I keep myself healthy, and it is less probable to have an injury playing as the designated hitter.”
In 18 seasons in the major leagues, the charismatic slugger has a lifetime .313 batting average, 555 home runs and 1,830 RBIs.