john farrell getty

Red Sox hire manager John Farrell away from the Blue Jays, send Mike Aviles to Toronto

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From Sean McAdam of CSN New England comes word that the Red Sox have hired current Blue Jays skipper John Farrell to be their next manager.

Farrell has already worked out a contract with Boston that will run through 2015. Compensation for Toronto will be announced in the next couple days.

The Red Sox interviewed Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Yankees bench coach Tony Pena and Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale. But it was pretty clear from the start that their sights were set on Farrell, who served as Boston’s pitching coach from 2007-2010.

Farrell had a 154-170 managerial record in his two years with the Jays.

The Red Sox likely had to give up a decent prospect (or two) to get the deal completed. One wonders how smart it is for an organization in a sort of rebuilding mode to dip into its farm system in this fashion.

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UPDATE, 11:51 PM: According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the compensation involves two players switching clubs. No names yet, but Morosi hears the Blue Jays are getting a major leaguer.

UPDATE, 12:06 AM: Morosi says the Jays will be getting an infielder, but not Will Middlebrooks.

UPDATE, 12:12 AM: WEEI.com reports that the Blue Jays are receiving middle infielder Mike Aviles, who batted .250/.282/.381 with 13 home runs, 14 stolen bases and 60 RBI in 136 games this past season for the Red Sox. Toronto will send a player to be named or cash to Boston along with Farrell.

UPDATE, 12:21 AM: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says Adam Lind may be heading to the Sox.

UPDATE, SUNDAY 8:39 AM: Lind is not involved in the deal, writes Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.

UPDATE, SUNDAY 2:08 PM: The Red Sox are getting David Carpenter. The swap is complete.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.