The Lineup: Farrell, Young and A-Rod

At Bat: The Boston Red Sox have their new manager and it didn’t take very long to replace one-year manager Bobby Valentine, who from the start did not have control of the clubhouse.

Seventeen days after Valentine was relieved of his duties after finishing dead last in the AL East with a 69-93 record, the Red Sox agreed to a three-year contract with John Farrell, the former skipper of the Toronto Blue Jays.

For the first time in a while, the Red Sox made a good move in signing Farrell as their next manager and should have immediate success when the 2013 season opens up.

Aside from spending the past two seasons in Toronto – meaning he knows the AL EastFarrell spent the previous four seasons in the Red Sox dugout as their pitching coach where he had phenomenal success. From their championship run in 2007 through the 2010 season the Red Sox pitching staff was lights out, ranking first in the AL in strikeouts (4,771), opponents’ BA (.254), shutouts (49) and third in ERA (4.11).

Unlike Valentine, who was a questionable replacement after Terry Francona was fired in 2011, Farrell is already being greeted with open arms from current players on the Red Sox. Entering the clubhouse in 2013 with a solid relationship with a number of key players and knowing the success that was in place in 2007, Farrell’s style of play should be quickly embraced as a recipe for winning, much of which could be taken from the 2007 playbook.

On Deck: Do not expect the Oakland Athletics to be that sweet story from this season to win the AL West and go back into hibernation. They will be back next year and possibly slightly better with a chance to win the division again, depending on what the Texas Rangers do with Josh Hamilton going forward.

In a three-team trade over the weekend, the Athletics acquired veteran outfielder Chris Young from the Arizona Diamondbacks, a deal that only makes the core of Oakland’s outfield stronger and better.

From left to right the A’s starting outfield would be: Yoenis Cespedes, Young and Josh Reddick. If Young hadn’t suffered an injury this season, he probably would have finished with 20 home runs, meaning that if he and his corner men stay healthy next year, the A’s could have at least 60 home runs from these three individuals alone.

Young comes cheap and is an underappreciated – probably why he comes so cheap – athlete who does everything a club wants from their everyday position player. He is still in his prime and has already had three 20-home run, 20-steal seasons and among outfielders has an 11.7 WAR in a list that includes Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Holliday and a bunch of other highly regarded outfielders throughout baseball.

Another 90-win season in Oakland with the addition of Young should be a shoe in. What isn’t, though, is Coco Crisp’s future, and he could very well be on his way out even after coming up huge in ALDS with the Detroit Tigers.

In the Hole: Alex Rodriguez‘s superstar status is behind him according to New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

But after an appalling postseason in which Rodriguez batted .120 with 12 strikeouts, it may be time for the third baseman to be dealt. That is, if anyone even wants the overpaid corner infielder.

He signed a 10-year, $275-million contract in 2007 and with five years remaining is still owed $114 million with $130 million in potential incentives. He will still be making multi-millions in his forties, so from a North Sider standpoint it’s good to know there is a team in worse financial straits than the Cubs with Alfonso Soriano.

But, after a great 2012 season in which Soriano hit 30 home runs and drove in 100 RBI, the Cubs’ tenured franchise man might be easier to deal without eating a majority of what’s left. Rodriguez, on the other hand, was not only pinch-hit for and benched a couple times in the postseason, but instead spent his down time tossing baseballs to girls in the stands with his phone number.

He is no leader and will probably be sent out quickly if his struggles continue in 2013, not because management feels the need to part ways, but Yankee fans will pressure them to get rid of the disease that Rodriguez has become since their last championship in 2009. For Chicago’s sake, let’s hope he doesn’t become the talk of trade rumors.

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