The Blue Jays’ Staff Of Pawns

Due to the distraction caused by media speculation regarding our employee permission policy, the Toronto Blue Jays have amended their policy and will not grant permission for lateral moves.

- The Farrell Corollary

Something to remember: In the game of chess, the pawn piece may only be moved forward.

The Toronto Blue Jays issued a statement earlier today in which they announced the amending of the organization’s previously stated policy of not standing in the way of staff members leaving for opportunities with other organizations.

Henceforth, their laissez-faire approach won’t apply to lateral moves. In other words, the organization won’t allow an assistant general manager to interview for an assistant general manager’s position with another team. Or in more timely and relevant terms, the Blue Jays won’t allow their manager out of his contract to take another manager’s position with another club. Toronto staff member will only receive permission to seek jobs in which they are being promoted.

Of course, the timing of this announcement is in direct response to recent rumours that the Boston Red Sox have held internal discussions about attempting to hire current Blue Jays manager John Farrell to take the reins in Beantown. And while personally, I would have a difficult time mustering up dismay over such a result in terms of future performance on the field or optics off it, there are some hyperbole users among us who imagine that losing Farrell to the Red Sox would mean far more than it truly does.

However, I’m in favour of the organization’s decision here for two reasons: 1) the compensation coming back to Toronto in a potential Farrell switcheroo would’ve been paltry, and 2) all the anticipated articles claiming that losing one’s manager to another team is a public relations death knell likely would’ve had something of a self-fulfilling prophecy effect on the organization that’s likely best avoided.

Comments (12)

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised that Farrell and other employees thought that this was the actual policy in place already.

  2. Good, though I’m not sure why this wasn’t the policy already anyway. You can’t just freely let an executive or manager walk away to a lateral job in another organization.

  3. It’s kind of silly that this policy wasn’t in place long ago.

  4. I was hoping Farrell would go and mismanage the Sox like he did the Jays – the Jays need every edge they can get.

  5. I’m sure it’s entirely coincidental but Theo Epstein just talked about bringing in good people from outside the organization in his introduction in Chicago. Maybe the move was made to protect the Jays baseball operations department as much as anything else


  7. I have a bit of a different perspective. First, I think it’s a poor idea in general to make policy decisions to avoid bad press. Second, what may look like a lateral move may in fact seem like a promotion to the incumbent, especially if the job carries different responsibilities, challenges, day to day duties and money. Third, it shows organizational confidence to allow current employees to consider opportunities outside the organization, as long as it does not interfere with them performing their current jobs. Lastly, nobody should be irreplaceable. In this case, there are many excellent managerial candidates available if Farrell should leave.

  8. Yesterday Ferrell did not shut the door on moving to the Red Sox. Today, to quell rampant speculation the general manager had to put out a statement implying employees (Ferrell) could not make lateral moves to other organizations. What’s all this about Ferrell being intelligent and media savy, Stoeten?
    Now that we know Ferrell would prefer to manager the Red Sox I don’t know why AA wouldn’t replace him for somebody who shows, you know, loyalty over blatant self interest.
    Since Ferrell lacks these characteristics, not to mention actually demonstrated boneheaded managerial decisions, I would love to know the possible reasons for keeping him around. Well, besides the fact some people might have their ridiculous Toronto-inferiority-complex seriously imflamed. But fuck those people.

    • Farrell merely said that he wouldn’t speculate on Boston’s situation and that he was focusing on the Blue Jays in 2012. It doesn’t get more media savvy than that. It’s the perfect comment.

      Inferring that he wanted the Red Sox job from that comment is actually worse than people inferring that he wants to be a Blue Jay for life from it.

      • I would expect a savy media comment to end speculation rather than increase it. It wasn’t until the announcement by AA that the chatter began to die down. Also, I’m sure the timing of it is a total coincidence.
        It might seem unreasonable to assume that when Ferrell says he is “focusing on the Blue Jays in 2012″ that he actually means the Red Sox, and well, honestly, that might be true. However, he should have said more. Perhaps he could have added “any discussion is a waste of time because the Blue Jays have a club policy which does not allow lateral moves to other organizations”…. Oh wait…

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