BOSTON (AP) — Larry Lucchino cracked open a fortune cookie from the Chinese dinner that Red Sox officials and John Farrell shared during their final discussion about Boston's managerial job.
The message inside drew a chuckle from the team's president.
"One that I opened after everyone left was quite interesting," Lucchino said Tuesday. "It said, 'you will solve a major problem that's very important to you.'"
From that meeting at Lucchino's home Saturday night, also attended by owner John Henry and general manager Ben Cherington, the Red Sox are moving forward from their worst season since 1965 with a contributor to their World Series championship of 2007.
Two days after announcing the hiring of Farrell, their pitching coach from 2007-10, the Red Sox introduced him at a news conference. He succeeds Bobby Valentine, who was fired after one year and a 69-93 record.
Farrell, who managed the Toronto Blue Jays the past two seasons, called Boston "the epicenter" of baseball.
He's familiar with some players and members of the front office from his experience with the team. He expects that to smooth his transition. But, he said, he won't take for granted his relationships with players.
"I will work my butt off to earn their trust, to earn their respect and create an environment in that clubhouse that is just that," Farrell said. "It's a trusting one. It'll be a learning one and, yes, it'll be a competitive one and, hopefully, a very successful one."
That wasn't the case last season when Valentine had a cool relationship with some coaches, publicly criticized Kevin Youkilis before he was traded to the Chicago White Sox and was the target of players' complaints at a meeting they had with team officials.
The Red Sox also were hurt by numerous injuries and management finally gave up its postseason hopes when it traded Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 25. That left Valentine with starting lineups in September that looked better suited to their Triple-A team at Pawtucket.
"I can't speak to what the Red Sox clubhouse was last year," Farrell said. "I think it's important that we communicate consistently to the players, we outline expectations and we have to hold players accountable to what we're trying to get done.
"It's got to be a positive place that they want to come to every single day."
Farrell, 50, received a three-year contract to become the 46th manager in Red Sox history.
"I truly believe in an aggressive style of play," he said. "That creates a strategy that is relentless, and I think that is critical."
The Red Sox wanted Farrell last year when they let Terry Francona go. But the Blue Jays wouldn't release him after they went 81-81 in the first year of his three-year contract. But after going 73-89 this season, finishing one spot above the last-place Red Sox in the AL East, they allowed Farrell to leave in exchange for Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles. Boston also received reliever David Carpenter.
Cherington reportedly had wanted Dale Sveum to succeed Francona. But Lucchino preferred Valentine and Sveum became manager of the Chicago Cubs.
"It's important that I have a relationship with the manager that's strong to the point that you can disagree and be candid with one another and walk away knowing that that relationship is still intact," Cherington said. "I feel confident about that with John, based on my existing relationship with him."