BOSTON -- 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."
Farrell had a key role in the development of starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Both are coming off subpar seasons, but Farrell said those two, plus Felix Doubront and John Lackey, who was sidelined all this year following Tommy John elbow surgery, can form a solid core of the rotation.
"We all recognize how important pitching is and, particularly, starting pitching," Farrell said. "You look at every team that's advanced to the postseason ... and it typically starts and ends with the strength of your starting rotation. So that is a priority."
The Red Sox need another reliable starter and an everyday outfielder. They can use an upgrade at first base and must settle on a replacement for Aviles.
David Ortiz and Cody Ross, two of Boston's top hitters, are eligible for free agency but have said they'd like to return.
Ortiz was working out at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Cherington said he's talked several times with the designated hitter's agent.
"We've had good dialogue since the season ended," he said. "The goal remains the same. We want him back in a Red Sox uniform, and we'll continue to work toward that end."
Ortiz was on the disabled list from July 18 to Aug. 24 with a strained right Achilles. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in one game. The Red Sox made the blockbuster trade with Los Angeles the next day and Ortiz returned to the disabled list on Aug. 27 and never came off it.
"He realized that this trade meant that we're not going to run this race and we're not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore," Valentine said in an interview airing Tuesday night on Costas Tonight on NBC Sports Network. "I think at that time it was all downhill from there."
Ortiz's return would bolster a team that shed several veterans.
"When you look at the roster, there are still some very good major league players here," Farrell said. "We do need to get healthy."
Farrell drew criticism from Toronto fans for leaving, especially after he talked about his loyalty to the Blue Jays last month.
"That means there's passion, there's caring from the fan base," he said, "but I would take exception with the thought that there was no intent to fulfill a contract."
Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous has said Farrell told him that "there's no other city that was more of a perfect fit or a perfect opportunity."
He takes over a Red Sox team that ended its last two seasons in disarray.
The Red Sox lost their last eight games under Valentine. In 2011, they went 7-20 in September, leading to Francona's exit. Afterward, there were reports that players ate chicken and drank beer in the clubhouse during games.
On Saturday night, it was Hunan shrimp and wonton soup at Lucchino's house.
"We were sitting around eating some Chinese takeout," Farrell said. "I said this is a place that I would love to take on the challenge. It's an incredible city.
"It's an incredible baseball environment."
Also on HuffPost:
Chicago White Sox
<strong>July 1997: </strong>Traded Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez to Giants for Lorenzo Barcelo, Mike Caruso, Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, Brian Manning and Ken Vining. Dubbed the "white flag" trade because the White Sox were only 3 1/2 games out of first place at the time, this deal actually didn't work out that badly for Chicago. Foulke, Howry and Barcelo pitched well out of the bullpen in 2000, when the White Sox won the AL Central.
<strong>July 2000:</strong> Acquired Curt Schilling from Phillies for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla. Schilling was 33 at the time but had plenty left. He went 45-13 in 2001 and 2002, leading the Diamondbacks to a dramatic World Series title in `01 and finishing second in the Cy Young vote both years to teammate Randy Johnson.
New York Yankees
<strong>August 1949:</strong> Acquired Johnny Mize from Giants for cash. New York's most famous deal - the one that made Babe Ruth a Yankee - took place during the offseason. As for midseason swaps, this deal in 1949 gave New York a future Hall of Famer who would hit 25 home runs the following year. The Yankees won the World Series all five years Mize was with the team.
St. Louis Cardinals
<strong>June 1964: </strong>Acquired Lou Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth from Cubs for Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens and Bobby Shantz. Brock had a hard time getting on base consistently while with the Cubs, but his career took off when St. Louis traded for him. The Hall of Famer hit .348 in 103 games for the Cardinals in that 1964 season. St. Louis edged the Phillies and Reds for the NL pennant with a memorable comeback, then beat the Yankees in a seven-game World Series.
New York Mets
<strong>June 1977: </strong>Traded Tom Seaver to Reds for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman and Pat Zachry. It was the end of an era in Queens when the Mets traded their future Hall of Famer amid a contract dispute. Seaver finished 1977 with 21 wins and threw a no-hitter for Cincinnati the following year. The Mets didn't have another winning season until 1984.
<strong>August 1992: </strong>Traded Jose Canseco to Rangers for Jeff Russell, Ruben Sierra, Bobby Witt and cash. Canseco was 28 years old and four years removed from his 40-40 season when the A's sent him to Texas. Oakland won the AL West anyway, but this was the beginning of the end for the Bash Brothers era.
<strong>July 1998: </strong>Acquired Randy Johnson from Mariners for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama. The Astros gave up a lot to bring in Johnson, but he delivered, going 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA for Houston. The Astros won the NL Central in a runaway, but Johnson left via free agency after the season.
Los Angeles Dodgers
<strong>May 1998:</strong> Traded Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile to Marlins for Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson and Gary Sheffield. Sheffield was a terrific hitter for the Dodgers for a few seasons, but Piazza would reach the World Series with the Mets two years later.
Kansas City Royals
<strong>July 2001: </strong>Traded Jermaine Dye to Rockies for Neifi Perez. Dye ended up in Oakland after this three-way deal, and Perez played only one full season (2002) with the Royals. Dye had hit 33 homers in 2000, but Kansas City didn't get much value for him in the end.
Montreal Expos / Washington Nationals
<strong>June 2002: </strong>Acquired Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew from Indians for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens. The Expos were facing possible contraction but were also in the hunt for a playoff spot, so general manager Omar Minaya went for broke. Montreal ended up falling well short of the postseason, and Lee, Phillips and Sizemore blossomed into stars elsewhere. The Expos remained in existence but later moved to Washington.
<strong>August 2004:</strong> Traded Larry Walker to Cardinals for Jason Burch, Luis Martinez and Chris Narveson. Walker's terrific run in Colorado came to an end when he joined the pennant-bound Cardinals. None of the players the Rockies received has played a game for them.
Tampa Bay Rays
<strong>August 2009: </strong>Traded Scott Kazmir to Angels for Sean Rodriguez, Matt Sweeney and Alexander Torres. There will probably be bigger deals in the future for this young franchise, but Kazmir had been a solid left-hander for the Rays for a few seasons before they cut ties with him when his performance took a downward turn.
<strong>May 1971:</strong> Acquired George Foster from Giants for Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert. Foster became a crucial part of the Big Red Machine, helping the Reds win the World Series in 1975 and 1976 and winning the MVP in 1977. Of course, this wasn't Cincinnati's only big deal of 1971. After the season, they picked up Joe Morgan from Houston.
<strong>June 1979: </strong>Acquired Bill Madlock, Lenny Randle and Dave Roberts from Giants for Fred Breining, Al Holland and Ed Whitson. Trading Jose Bautista a few years ago still stings, but Pirates fans can look back more fondly on this deal. Madlock hit .328 for Pittsburgh in 1979, and the Pirates won the World Series. He went on to win batting titles in 1981 and 1983.
<strong>June 1976:</strong> Acquired Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez, Rudy May, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan from Yankees for Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Elrod Hendricks, Ken Holtzman and Grant Jackson. Dempsey, Martinez and McGregor were all key contributors to Baltimore's championship team of 1983, with Dempsey earning World Series MVP honors. McGregor won 20 games for the Orioles in 1980.
<strong>July 2009:</strong> Acquired Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from Indians for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp and Lou Marson. The Phillies won their third of five straight NL East titles after trading for Lee, who went 4-0 in the postseason and helped Philadelphia win the pennant for the second consecutive year.
San Francisco Giants
<strong>July 1987:</strong> Acquired Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts from Padres for Chris Brown, Keith Comstock, Mark Davis and Mark Grant. The Giants won the NL West in 1987 with contributions from all three players they received in this deal. Mitchell won the MVP in 1989 and Davis took the Cy Young Award that year - two seasons after the two were traded for each other.
<strong>May 1989: </strong>Traded Mark Langston and Mike Campbell to Expos for Gene Harris, Brian Holman and Randy Johnson. Langston was in his prime when he was sent to Montreal, but the Mariners ended up with an even better left-hander in return. Johnson became one of the game's most intimidating pitchers while with Seattle, and he helped the Mariners to a couple playoff appearances before being traded again.
<strong>July 1989: </strong>Traded Frank Viola to Mets for Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond, Jack Savage, Kevin Tapani and David West. It couldn't have been easy giving up the reigning Cy Young Award winner, but the move paid off for the Twins eventually. In 1991, Tapani went 16-9, Aguilera had 42 saves and Minnesota won the World Series.
<strong>August 1987:</strong> Traded John Smoltz to Braves for Doyle Alexander. Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA down the stretch for Detroit, helping the Tigers edge Toronto for the AL East title in a thrilling finish. But Smoltz, a Michigan native, became a star in Atlanta.
<strong>July 1993:</strong> Acquired Fred McGriff from Padres for Donnie Elliott, Vince Moore and Melvin Nieves. When the Braves traded for McGriff, the press box at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium literally caught fire the day he joined the team. The Braves followed suit, going 49-16 down the stretch to edge the Giants in the last great division race of the pre-wild card era.
Toronto Blue Jays
<strong>July 1993: </strong>Acquired Rickey Henderson from Athletics for Jose Herrera and Steve Karsay. Henderson was actually part of two big deals that might have swung championships. First he went from the Yankees to Oakland in 1989 and led the A's to a World Series title. Then he was sent to the Blue Jays and helped them win the World Series for the second year in a row. Toronto's first World Series title in 1992 came after they acquired David Cone in a deal that sent Jeff Kent to the Mets.
Boston Red Sox
<strong>August 1990:</strong> Traded Jeff Bagwell to Astros for Larry Andersen. In one of baseball's all-time cautionary tales, Boston sent a future MVP to Houston for a 37-year-old reliever. With Andersen in the bullpen, the Red Sox did win a tight division race that year, but that was little consolation in the long run.
<strong>July 2007: </strong>Traded Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Braves for Beau Jones, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Rangers might be reaping the benefits of this one for a while. Andrus, Feliz and Harrison are key players for the two-time defending AL champions - and at 26, Harrison is the oldest of the trio.
St. Louis Cardinals
<strong>June 1964:</strong> Acquired Lou Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth from Cubs for Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens and Bobby Shantz. Brock had a hard time getting on base consistently while with the Cubs, but his career took off when St. Louis traded for him. The Hall of Famer hit .348 in 103 games for the Cardinals in that 1964 season. St. Louis edged the Phillies and Reds for the NL pennant with a memorable comeback, then beat the Yankees in a seven-game World Series.
<strong>July 2008: </strong>Acquired CC Sabathia from Indians for Michael Brantley, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson and Matt LaPorta. The Brewers got everything they could have expected from Sabathia, who went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and seven complete games for Milwaukee. The Brewers eked out a wild card berth by one game - their first postseason appearance in 26 years.
San Diego Padres
<strong>June 1993:</strong> Acquired Trevor Hoffman, Andres Berumen and Jose Martinez from Marlins for Rich Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. The deal was part of the same fire sale that sent McGriff to the Braves, but the Padres struck gold with this move. Sheffield was a star, but Hoffman saved at least 40 games nine times for San Diego.
Los Angeles Angels
<strong>July 2010: </strong>Acquired Dan Haren from Diamondbacks for Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, Joe Saunders and Tyler Skaggs. The Angels finished under .500 in 2010 even with Haren, but he went on to go 16-10 the following year and is still with the team. The trade for Greinke probably at least rivals this one.
<strong>July 2011: </strong>Acquired Ubaldo Jimenez from Rockies for Joseph Gardner, Matt McBride, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. The jury is still somewhat out on this one, but the Indians may live to regret it if Pomeranz and White develop into stars. Jimenez has been erratic since going to Cleveland.