The Red Sox have asked permission to speak with John Farrell directly

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We heard last night that the Red Sox were “making progress” in negotiations to acquire John Farrell from the Blue Jays to be their new manager. Barring something unexpected, it looks like a deal will get done.

According to the Associated Press, the Red Sox have asked permission from the Blue Jays to speak to Farrell directly. This would seem to indicate that talks have progressed to the point where the Red Sox want to negotiate a contract with Farrell.

Farrell has one year left on his contract with the Blue Jays, so the Red Sox will have to give up a player or players as part of a trade. While one rival executive told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com last night that compensation negotiations resembled “a staring contest,” the Blue Jays are prepared to start over following a disappointing 73-89 record this season.

“There’s no question it gets done in my mind,” said one rival executive. “Toronto doesn’t want him there anymore.”

The Blue Jays surely want to get something of value in order to give up their manager to a division rival, but quotes like this one won’t help their leverage.

The Red Sox have interviewed Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus and Orioles third base DeMarlo Hale for their vacant managerial position, but Farrell is widely considered the top choice to replace Bobby Valentine. Farrell, 50, previously served as pitching coach with Boston from 2006-2010 under Terry Francona.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”