Well, this is…different.
Remember last season, when some rumors surfaced that Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell was being courted by the Boston Red Sox? It ended with a team policy change in the off-season that barred any team employee from leaving the Blue Jays to accept the same position with another team, and the two teams went on their merry ways. For a while, anyway. With the Boston Red Sox being a mess this season, and the house-cleaning apparently having been started with the trade that sent away Adrian Gonzalez, the rumors of their pursuit for a new manager to replace Bobby Valentine has resurfaced.
And guess what? They still want their former pitching coach for the job, apparently. ESPN’s Buster Olney was on ESPN radio Monday morning, suggesting that the Blue Jays were actually fairly close to an agreement that would see them part with Farrell in the last off-season, but ultimately decided against it. This time, he’s got an idea of what the Blue Jays could get back from the Red Sox:
Buster Olney on ESPN Radio: John Farrell the name to watch in Red Sox mgr situation, suggested Farrell for Bard trade
— Doug Walton (@JaysProducer) August 27, 2012
A player-for-manager trade? Not unheard of, but still somewhat unusual. The proposed deal is fairly sensible, too; sure, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos hasn’t had anything bad to say about John Farrell’s work with the team thus far (though to be fair, it’d be weird if he did), but the team has done little to quell the rumors either. Farrell isn’t exactly well-loved by the Blue Jays fan base (not to say that this sort of thing necessarily matters), and the team hasn’t made any announcements on Farrell’s long-term contract status with the club to suggest that this is the manager they want to lead the team into contention. Is that something that the Blue Jays have to do? No. As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi points out, “the reality is the club’s silence on the matter has failed miserably on that front and it continues to have a subversive effect, creating the perception that a self-entitled rival is being allowed to make continuous attempts to lure away its manager without fear of recourse.”
The idea of getting back an arm like Daniel Bard is tantalizing, though. The hard-throwing righty has had a season to forget (to put it lightly), after an unsuccessful reliever-to-starter conversion left him with reduced velocity and wonky mechanics – but that’s just the change-of-scenery reclamation project types that fits with the Blue Jays. Bard was one of the top relievers in the league just a season ago, and at 27-years old, still has the upside to be a dominant reliever.
And we all know how much Anthopoulos loves high-upside relievers, right? Until the team makes a statement on this topic, the rumors will likely continue to swirl around the Blue Jays’ manager.