New Sox manager John Farrell said hie long-standing relationship with Nieves was important in Nieves landing the job after five seasons with the White Sox.
“His ability, his communication and my understanding of Juan and what’s important to him as a person, as much as a pitching coach, those were all factored into the ease of communication, which is going to be a major component once we get into in-game input that he’ll have in the dugout,” Farrell said. “I feel with our rapport and existing knowledge of the guys on the pitching staff already, this is a very good fit and a very good tandem.”
It was believed that longtime pitching coach Rick Peterson was the favorite for the job — a baseball source last week told ESPNBoston.com that Farrell was “all in” on Peterson. Farrell said he was impressed with all four candidates who interviewed (Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Royals bullpen coach Steve Foster were the others) but Nieves got the job for a number of reasons.
Farrell expressed the importance of communication between the manager, the pitching coach and the entire pitching staff, and his confidence in Nieves’ ability in that area.
“The ease of our working relationship will really foster that,” Farrell said.
Another aspect to the decision to hire Nieves was his longstanding working relationship with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.
“He’s learned under a longtime pitching coach that has had a lot of success in his own right in Don Cooper and this is a very good fit for the Red Sox,” Farrell said.
“It’s an easy fit first of all because I’m only changing Sox,” he said. “It was a great fit knowing John from a long time in Puerto Rico and we actually played on the same team. We were able to talk a lot through the years.”
Nieves has spent a total of 15 years working with Cooper and plans on bringing a lot of those philosophies to Boston.
“Establishing a structure for the guys and stay on that course,” Nieves said. “To create some stability for the guys is very important.