Your suffering is over, folks.
No more will you have to read bi-daily “will he or won’t he?” rumors about Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell regarding his future. Yes, that’s right, you can now add “former” to his job title – or you could just call him the new manager of the Boston Red Sox.
After two somewhat tumultuous years in Toronto, Farrell will return home (so to speak) to a Red Sox team where he was a former pitching coach. I don’t know about you, but at this point, his departure is more of a sigh of relief than anything. Forget that the Blue Jays organization’s policy of secrecy regarding the job status of their manager, and that it was supplemented by a bunch of pseudo-commitments like “I am currently the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays”; after all the weeks of speculation, and lack of clear communication from both the franchise and the man himself to address any of this mess, how could Farrell possibly come back?
The answer is that he couldn’t – not after it was made crystal clear that he wasn’t committed to the team beyond the minute that he spoke. Farrell’s departure is a both chance for the manager to return to a familiar organization to continue his career, and for the Blue Jays to finally move on to more pressing things in this upcoming off-season – like say, put together a starting rotation.
This isn’t to say that Farrell had no value to the club, of course. I’m only trying to suggest that the mess surrounding his departure was bigger than any value he could have provided to the team as a manager. Over his tenure in Toronto, Farrell’s particular style of management was often criticized, especially when it came to the team’s running game and bullpen management. The latter improved as 2012 went along, but it remained a point of contention for fans, whose memories of seeing Francisco Cordero being trotted out for unsuccessful save attempts were still fresh in mind.
In any case, that will be somebody else’s problems now, as Farrell will be under contract with the Red Sox until 2015. As for compensation, the Blue Jays will get back infielder Mike Aviles, a nice platoon option with positional flexibility who also has a bit of pop in his bat. Nothing particularly eye-popping, and certainly not somebody with as much upside as say, Daniel Bard, but if you know Alex Anthopoulos, you’d have to figure that maybe there’s a way he could turn Aviles into something else down the line.
Adding more interest to this move is that the Blue Jays may also be parting with first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind, who has been (to put it nicely) a failed project for the club since his “breakout” 2009 season. In moving him, the Blue Jays would get off the hook for his five-million dollar salary for 2013, and the two-million dollar buyout that will likely come in 2014 for what is essentially a part-time platoon player. Not to say that Lind couldn’t possibly thrive elsewhere, but like Aaron Hill before him, Toronto just wasn’t the place where it was going to happen.
The Blue Jays will now look ahead to filling their vacant managerial position in the coming days, with several names already having been linked to the team as a possible candidate, including Sandy Alomar Jr., and ex-player Omar Vizquel; though, after the whole “lack of leadership” thing that came up at the end of the season, I certainly hope that the latter is just a bad joke,