October 22, 2012
It didn’t surprise any Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox fans when the Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs announced that a trade had been worked out between the two teams for Toronto manager John Farrell. The trade for a baseball manager is quite rare though as this is just the fourth time in MLB history that a field boss has been included in a swap for a player. The deal was announced on Oct. 21 even though most fans saw it coming several weeks ago. The Red Sox got their man in Farrell, who is the team’s former pitching coach, and signed him to a deal that in theory will see him stay with the club until the end of the 2015 baseball season.
Farrell followed all of the sports clichés and released a statement that said he’s happy and excited to be returning to both the club and the city of Boston because he loves the organization, town, and fans. Farrell served as the Red Sox’ pitching coach between 2007 and 2010 and was then hired by the Blue Jays as the team’s manager. He signed a three-year deal with Toronto, meaning he still had a year left on it when the Jays shipped him back to Bean Town.
The trade saw Boston give up shortstop Mike Aviles, but along with Farrell they also received David Carpenter, a right-handed pitcher from the Jays. Aviles took to his Twitter account after the deal was announced and thanked Boston fans and the franchise and said he’s looking forward to a new chapter in his life and career. His new chapter actually began writing itself just over a week earlier when Alex Anthopoulos, the Blues Jays’ general manager, met with Farrell and the manager let him know that he really wanted to return to Boston.
Anthopoulos said he’d have to hear from Boston before he could do anything and he didn’t have to wait very long as John Henry, the Red Sox owner, called the Blue Jays the next day to discuss the situation. Farrell told the Jays that managing the Red Sox would be a dream come true for him and it’s believed that Anthopoulos wasn’t too concerned about losing him after a couple of mediocre seasons. The Jays figured they’d let him go after next season anyway so if they could pick up a player in the process they might as well go for it.
The Red Sox weren’t sure the Blue Jays would go for the trade though and they interviewed four other people for the manager’s job. It became open a day after the regular season ended when Bobby Valentine was let go after a last-place finish in the AL East Division. The club interviewed Tim Wallach, the current third-base coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as Tony Pena, the Yankees bench coach, DeMarlo Hale, the third-base coach with the Baltimore Orioles, and Brad Ausmus, a front office man with the San Diego Padres. It’s believed that the Blue Jays are also interested in Wallach.
Larry Lucchino, the CEO of the Red Sox, said all of the candidates were fine options, but he feels that Farrell is the best candidate due to his presence, leadership and experience. He added that Farrell and the organization are familiar with each other and he’s also got a lot of expertise with pitching and front-office duties. However, there are thousands of Blue Jays fans and even a few players who disagree with this assessment of their former manager.
Boston tried to acquire Farrell a year earlier after former manager Terry Francona left the club, but the Blue Jays weren’t interested at that time since the manager had only been with the club for a year. But after another pretty dismal season under his leadership, the club had a change of heart. It’s believed Toronto would have let Farrell leave last year only if the Red Sox gave them right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz in return.
The 50-year-old Farrell has a lot more support from the Boston players than he had in Toronto as several Jays criticised him this year for various things including running a lax clubhouse. His record definitely wasn’t very impressive as he went 154-170 during his two years in Toronto. However, he fared better than Valentine and the Red Sox as they finished this season behind the Jays with a record of 69-93 this year.
Boston is giving up a pretty good player in the 31-year-old Aviles. He’s solid defensively and hit 13 home runs with 60 RBIs and 14 stolen bases this season. His on-base percentage wasn’t the greatest though at just .282. With Aviles leaving town, Jose Iglesias might take over the position next season and Xander Bogaerts is waiting in the wings and is regarded as one of Boston’s best prospects.
The Jays gave up the 27-year-old Carpenter from their pitching staff, but it’s unlikely that he had much of a future with the club. The reliever’s played in 67 games in his career, going 1-5 with an ERA of 5.70. He was acquired back in July this year in a 10-player trade with the Houston Astros. He appeared in just three games with the Blue jays and posted an ERA of 30.38 in 2.2 innings pitched. He gave up eight hits and nine earned runs in those three outings.