Months after being fired by the Red Sox following a first-round playoff exit, World Series-winning manager John Farrell is taking his talents to television.
ESPN announced Friday that Farrell will serve as a studio analyst on Baseball Tonight, where he will work alongside Karl Ravech, David Ross, Mark Teixeira and others. He will debut next Wednesday on ESPN2 as part of Baseball Tonight’s season preview show.
“John is a World Series Champion who brings a wealth of knowledge, plus the always-valuable manager’s perspective,” senior coordinating producer Seth Markman said in a release.
Farrell’s work with ESPN will apparently not conflict with his newly announced gig as a scout for the Cincinnati Reds.
ESPN’s baseball coverage has undergone quite a bit of turnover in recent years. The network has cut back Baseball Tonight to once a week and outsourced its daily coverage to MLB Network’s Intentional Talk. Out went Dallas Braden, Raul Ibañez, Doug Glanville, Aaron Boone and Jayson Stark. In came Teixeira, Ross, Alex Rodriguez, Matt Vasgersian and now Farrell.
It will be interesting to see how Farrell performs in his Baseball Tonight role. As a former MLB pitcher, pitching coach and manager, he obviously has ton of knowledge about the game, but he doesn’t seem (from afar) to have the type of magnetic personality that makes someone a can’t-miss candidate for a TV role. Still, ESPN can probably benefit from having a managerial perspective on a staff mostly loaded with younger ex-players.
The surprising firings of several successful managers last fall has now been a boon to several television networks, with former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi landing at MLB Network and Farrell joining ESPN. Interestingly, the guys hired to replace those two, Boone and Alex Cora, respectively, both formerly worked on ESPN, while the last three Red Sox managers (Cora, Farrell, Terry Francona) have all spent time at the network, making Bristol seem like a steppingstone to the dugout, in addition to a fallback plan should a manager lose his job.