Here we go again.
It’s a rumor that has refused to go away since basically the end of last season, but with the recent (and rather unceremonious) dismissal of Bobby Valentine by the Boston Red Sox, it seems as though the crosshairs for the vacant manager’s job in Beantown is – once again – squarely on current Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
Or that’s what’s widely believed to be the case, at least. The rumor hit a fever pitch almost as soon as news of the ousting of Bobby V reached press, with at least one report – from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale – suggesting that the Blue Jays would backtrack on their “no lateral movement” policy and let Farrell walk, should the job be in his reach:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 5, 2012
The basis for this thought, as with all the other times when this rumor has come up, is the simple lack of verbal commitment from either the Blue Jays or Farrell to the contrary. As Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal wrote in a column regarding the topic (in which he proposed a potential Farrell for Daniel Bard trade), it wouldn’t be difficult for Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos to squash this right away. Farrell is under contract through at least 2013, and while it’s apparently been club policy not to disclose details on contracts given to managers and coaches, a simple “Farrell is our manager in 2013, so he’s not going anywhere” would at least quell the talk for now, instead of potentially having the issue be a constant distraction as the team works to rebound from a disappointing 2012 season.
On the same side of things, Farrell isn’t particularly doing much to keep this whole thing under control either. He’d said before the season ended that his attention was “unequivocally” on the Blue Jays – but what about now? The lack of both a confirmation or denial on either side, should you be inclined to believe the rumor, gives credence to the idea that there’s already been informal discussions between Farrell and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington (who are apparently “very good friends”, according to Nightengale).
So the story continues, like an itch that won’t go away, and it will do so until somebody – anybody – from any side of this rumor says something officially on record about it. If the Blue Jays do end up letting Farrell – who has always had the support of Anthopoulos, but has been the target of much criticism among fans and some members of the press in his rookie managerial campaign – move over to take the Red Sox job, there’s precedent for some sort of compensation here. That he’d be vacating the Blue Jays job while under contract to go to a divisional rival might even suggest that there’d be a higher “cost”, so to speak.
Perhaps the two clubs are negotiating. Then again, perhaps they aren’t, and Nighengale is right – after all, what would be the point for the Blue Jays to keep a manager around, should his heart not be with the club? Say Farrell tells the team he wants to go to Boston because of the familiarity with the franchise, there’s really no reason for Anthopoulos to not let him go – maybe other than to send a message that the team will not allow the precedent to be set.
Until either Farrell, Anthopoulos, or Cherington says something about it, however, all of this remains speculation. Maybe they’re not saying anything because well, there’s nothing going on; in this case, though, the silent treatment is only making the rumors grow louder.