Welp. This should be interesting. In a post at MassLive.com, Evan Drelich provides us with some quotes from John Farrell, who answered questions at a seminar this week, including some about his time in Toronto and the differences between the two organizations.
“We can have a seminar on this question — not just because it’s Toronto and Boston,” Farrell said. “There are very distinct differences and it starts, I think it starts, at the top. And the reason I say that: I found Toronto to be a scouting-based organization, which to me is on one plane, one-dimensional. You’re looking at tools. Here, it’s a player-development based system. It’s the paths of the individuals that are running the organization. And that’s not to be critical.
“We all know that there’s three different veins in this game that people advance (through): baseball operations, scouting, player development. Well, in the player-development vein, you’re going to look at things in three dimensions: mentally, physically, fundamentally to address and develop people, or develop an organization. I think as a scouting base, you go out and you evaluate the physical tools. And that’s kind of where it ends, or that’s the look at that time. That was my experience, that was my opinion.”
Now, Farrell is a player development guy, so obviously that’s the prism he sees the world through– and, in fact, that’s kinda what he was supposed to bring to the Jays. He was billed as something of a front office executive on the field, so I’m not sure if we can separate the Jays’ failures in player development during his tenure from his failures. And that assumes there are failures– and assumes that Farrell’s comments actually make sense– which I think is a little bit disingenuous, given the overhaul of the organization that took place when Anthopoulos came in, and how little fruit it could have been expected to bear during the time Farrell was here.
Also, obviously he’s going to be slobbering all over the balls of his new employers, not making waves by praising the organization he obviously had some ill will towards, after they kept him once from his “dream job,” which he only was able to recapture after the disasterfuck of Bobby Valentine’s year in Boston– and after the Jays decided they didn’t really give a shit if he stayed or left. So… there’s that.
But it’s certainly interesting to hear what, in the grand scheme of sports quotes, seems a pretty unvarnished take. And I think those who do wonder sometimes about the Jays’ heavy emphasis on scouts and whether they have struck the right balance– among whom I occasionally count myself (no, really)– will certainly cling to as more evidence that this organization is maybe in a little over its head.
I don’t say that to suggest that whatever Farrell is saying has anything to do with the disasters of this year and the way the club’s trades have so painfully backfired, and maybe the exact point of being heavily focussed on tools is that those are the kinds of things other teams salivate over when you’re making deals. But it’s not like the Red Sox have been short on toolsy prospects, or players sought-after enough to get deals done.
I know it’s hard to believe him, espeically from where we sit, but if it is a problem here like he says it is, hopefully Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t get his back up about it and heeds Farrell’s words. Being more like Boston, in an organizational sense, would seem to be a pretty good idea.