We heard earlier this week that the Blue Jays were in negotiations to send manager John Farrell to the Red Sox and it appears the situation is getting close to a resolution.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that the clubs are “making progress” in compensation talks. Assuming an agreement is eventually worked out, Farrell will be named the new manager of the Red Sox.
Farrell served as the pitching coach of the Red Sox from 2006-2010 before leaving for the Blue Jays manager gig. He only has one year left on his contract, but a baseball source told Joe McDonald and Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the Blue Jays would likely ask for a player of “substantial value” in order to give up their manager to a division rival.
While Farrell is reportedly the top choice for Boston’s vacant manager job, multiple candidates have interviewed over the past week, including Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, and Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale.
Last week John Farrell’s non-denial denial when asked about reports that the Red Sox are interested in him as their next manager kept the speculation swirling and according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com Boston and Toronto “have begun preliminary discussions about potential compensation.”
In the meantime the Red Sox are continuing to interview other candidates, including Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, and Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale.
However, it seems clear now that Farrell is their first choice and it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays putting up a huge fight if they can get some value back in the form of prospects.
Farrell was the Red Sox’s pitching coach for five seasons under Terry Francona, leaving to become the Blue Jays’ manager in 2011. He has a 154-170 record in Toronto and last week said stuff like “I am the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays” and “that’s where I’ve been the last two years and that’s where I currently am.”
During an MLB Network Radio interview today Blue Jays manager John Farrell was asked about reports that the Red Sox are interested in hiring him away from Toronto to replace Bobby Valentine as their manager.
Here’s his reply, via Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:
I am the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s where I’ve been the last two years and that’s where I currently am. This speculation started to rear its head again probably the final two months of the season. I can tell you this: In my conversations with [Blue Jays general manager] Alex [Anthopoulos], it hasn’t distracted me from my job and what the commitment there is.
I’m extremely challenged, happy as the manager of the Blue Jays. But its obvious that there’s a vacancy to fill there and they’re going about their interview process as it is. Nothing has been communicated directly to me. If the Red Sox have contracted Alex, I’m unaware of that. Where it stands is what I said: [I’m] manager of the Blue Jays.
Not exactly an “I’m not interested in the Red Sox job” or even a “there’s nothing to those reports.” Farrell’s comments seem to say quite a lot without saying much of anything.
Matthew outlined a pretty good case against the Red Sox hiring former pitching coach and current Blue Jays manager John Farrell to be their next skipper. But if they don’t heed Matthew’s advice, it seems like they’re going to have access to him:
Now, what “aren’t expected to stand in the way” means is a good question. It could just mean that they will let Boston talk to him. It does not necessarily mean that they can simply hire him, because Farrell is under contract with Toronto still, and the Jays would be silly to let him go for nothing, even if they have no interest in him in the long term. Leverage being leverage and all.
With Bobby Valentine officially gone after months of being left dangling on the hook, the focus in Boston has immediately shifted to Blue Jays manager John Farrell. And I’m left to wonder why.
Now, Farrell had a sterling reputation in five years as Boston’s pitching coach. But managing a team is a different animal. And little Farrell has done in his two years in Toronto suggests that he’s very good at it. The Blue Jays’ lack of leadership was lamented by Omar Vizquel, Jason Frasor and Adam Lind of late, and while they were citing the players, too, it certainly doesn’t reflect well on the manager that they felt the need to speak out.
“If you make mistakes and nobody says anything about it — they just let it go — we’re going to keep making the same mistakes over and over again,” Vizquel said last week. “We have to stand up and say something right after that mistake happened. We have to talk about it at meetings. We have to address it in a big way in the clubhouse.
“Sometimes you have to punish players because they’re making the same mistakes over and over again.”
And the Jays make plenty of mistakes. They were as sloppy as any team in the league on the basepaths this year.
Under Farrell’s guidance, the Jays played .500 ball in 2011 and finished 73-89 this year. It was their worst record since 2004. They allowed their most runs since 2004, even though offense is on the decline.
Now, much of Toronto’s pitching struggles have been the result of injuries, and I’m not going to blame Farrell for the fact that the Jays can’t seem to keep their pitchers healthy. But if pitching is Farrell’s specialty, it’s hard to see what good he’s doing. Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil have regressed under his watch. Only Brandon Morrow has taken a big step forward, and he was limited to 21 starts this year.
So, no, I don’t see Farrell as the answer in Boston or really anywhere else. The idea that the Red Sox should trade a couple of quality prospects or even Clay Buchholz to get him is ludicrous.