Over the weekend, news broke out of Boston that the Red Sox, who suddenly find themselves managerless after scapegoating Terry Francona out of town in the most embarrassing way possible, have had internal discussions considering the pursuit of former pitching coach and current manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, John Farrell.
Aside: I think I’m now going to refer to what happens in my stomach after consuming particularly disagreeable Indian food as internal discussions.
Of course, this has prompted a sane and reasonable response from Blue Jays fans on sports talk radio shows and the Internet, including assumptions that if they were to pry Farrell away from the organization for which he’s currently employed, Toronto would receive Dustin Pedroia as compensation.
When not fantasizing over ridiculously lopsided returns, fans have been generally upset over the prospect of the Blue Jays appearing as a feeder organization for their American League East rival. That’s far from the case, here. Any manager who came up through an organization, only to take the reins of another, would be rumoured for a job back with their old team if a position were to unexpectedly come available only a short time after their departure.
No one would claim that the White Sox are a feeder organization for the Marlins, and yet they were able to lure Ozzie Guillen from Chicago to Miami. No one is suggesting that the Red Sox are a smaller organization than the Cubs, and yet they managed to land Boston’s general manager.
The only difference between the Red Sox and other organizations is the expectations from the local media that luring the old coach back would be as simple as asking.
It’s not. Don’t let your insecurities as a fan of the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball get the best of you. Farrell has a good thing going in Toronto, and the media-savvy manager appears far too intelligent to take that for granted. One only need to look at how his friend Francona was treated by the organization, that may or may not be interested in courting him, to find a reason for Farrell to stay in Toronto.
His response to the rumours tells us little, other than media training can be effective at reassuring in the most noncommittal way possible:
I have no idea and no comment on what’s happening in Boston. I am focused right now on preparing for what is best for the Blue Jays in 2012.
Losing John Farrell wouldn’t be great, but it would be far from the end of the world for the Toronto Blue Jays, in terms of both optics and performance. Anyone imagining a Major League player in return for a manager is blatantly unaware of the amount of wins a manager is responsible for on any given team, or what the Florida Marlins traded for Ozzie Guillen. What the Blue Jays could expect, if they requested compensation, is a prospect of some ilk, but little notoriety.
And they’d probably be better off for it. But again, it’s not worth working ourselves into a tizzy over. While certainly a figure head / lightning rod, a typical manager’s measurable impact on a team is the equivalent of a bench player, not an All-Star second baseman. It’s important to remember that John Farrell is John McDonald, not Dustin Pedroia.