Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos' search for a new manager is over.
Following days of speculation, the Jays officially unveiled John Farrell as the 12th full-time manager in franchise history on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
"There is a lot a work to be done," Farrell said. "Yet the strengths of this ballclub center around a young pitching staff, a very good starting core and an offense that set records with the home run ball."
Farrell spent the past four seasons as the pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox. He also has six years under his belt as the director of player development with the Cleveland Indians. While he has never managed in the Major or Minor Leagues, it was his overall baseball background that attracted Anthopoulos the most.
"The biggest thing that stands out is he has a tremendously diverse background," Anthoupolas said. "There's no question everyone would like to have more experience than they have, but that being said, it comes down to making a decision on your belief in that person.
"Factor in his background, his knowledge, his ability to work with players, his ability to put together a staff -- there is so much that John brings."
For Anthopoulos, the hiring marks the end of a search that officially began after this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but in reality, has been on his mind since Oct. 30, 2009, when the team announced Cito Gaston would be retiring as manager to take a consulting role with the organization.
Anthopoulos started his managerial search with a list of approximately 40 names. In a matter of hours, he had that number cut down to 18 candidates he thought deserved an opportunity to be interviewed. Farrell was interviewed three times, including twice in Toronto, and Anthopoulos says it was clear from the beginning that he was going to be a top candidate.
"We had a set number of questions that we were going to ask," Anthopoulos said of the interview process. "But the conversation with John just flowed. It may have gone three hours, and there was an immediate connection there.
"I even remember, at a lunch with [Jays president] Paul Beeston after we got done with John -- he asked me, and right then and there, I thought this could be the guy. I was that impressed."
The 48-year-old Farrell is a former pitcher who spent eight seasons in the Majors, compiling a 36-46 record with a 4.56 ERA in 116 appearances. After retiring, he worked at Oklahoma State University as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator before joining the Indians organization in November of 2001.
During Farrell's time in Cleveland, the Indians received Organization of the Year honors from USA Today (2003-04) and their farm system was ranked No. 1 by Baseball America (2003). Farrell had been linked to other managerial openings in the past, but this is the first time he put his name forward for serious consideration. He said a combination of the Jays' young core and the overall direction of the organization led him towards making that move.
"There were situations in the past of [me] not thinking I was ready and some other situations that didn't look as attractive as this [one] in Toronto, for a lot of reasons," Farrell said. "The direction of the organization, the resources available and our ultimate goal to sustain this -- not just to say we did this one year, but [to] continue to do it year over year."
As per club policy, Anthopoulos declined to announce the terms of Farrell's contract. He said both the dollar amount and the length of the contract tend to take the focus away from the on-field product.
"I'm a firm believer, from an employee standpoint," Anthopoulos said, "that contract terms [and] length are something that we just don't want to divulge.
"From our standpoint, it creates potential storylines that aren't relevant, in a lot of ways. Ultimately, these positions are all about winning and are about success, and contract length can create stories that I just don't think are relevant at all."
The Jays also announced that third-base coach Brian Butterfield and pitching coach Bruce Walton would be returning in the same capacity next season. Butterfield had been rumored to be interested in a similar position with the Baltimore Orioles, but after talking with Anthopoulos and Farrell, he ultimately decided to stay with Toronto. The rest of Farrell's coaching staff will be announced in the coming days.
Gregor Chisholm is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.