The good people at Rogers Sportsnet put up an innocent-enough poll this week, asking their readers (very likely Jays fans) if they’d be willing to part with manager John Farrell if it meant receiving pitcher Clay Buchholz as compensation.

The nearly half of respondents, died in the wool Jays fans as they appear to be me, did not greet the hypothetical situation with variations along the theme of “OH MY GOD, YES! MAKE IT HAPPEN” as one would expect. Nope, forty percent (FOUR-ZERO) of this sample of fans prefers keeping their steel-jawed field boss over a young pitcher with a favourable contract. (Update – numbers reversed, point remains. More than 1 is too many.)


Call me crazy. If I, as a baseball operation, have the opportunity to acquire a talented young pitcher with a team-friendly deal, I do it. If it costs me my field manager — Presidential as he might be — in the process, I still do it.

John Farrell is the man the Blue Jays selected after a very exhaustive search last winter. His knowledge of all sides of the business is very impressive; impressive enough to net him the job over more experienced candidates with more on-field experience.

But he is still just a field manager. His impact on the team is barely appreciable at best. A player, a young one with a proven track record and on-field results in the toughest of environments, helps the team win in more ways than a manager can even begin to.

Managers often suffix comments of their own role with teams with sentiments similar to “at the end of the day, it comes down to the players on the field.” No manner of coaching up turns a mediocre team into a good one. Adding good players is a very easy way to improve your team.

Talent wins. Front offices and coaching staffs are populated with incredibly talent people. The Jays under Alex Anthopoulos bring their on-field philosophy of “above-average players at every position” to their front office as well. Look at the way they hire experienced & smart baseball people at every turn. Talent at all levels matters.

The smartest front office minds are all attempting to do one thing: improve the product on the field. A pitcher like Buchholz improves the quality of players on the field in a way no manager can do: he does instantly and appreciably.

If the Jays asked for Buchholz as potential compensation for John Farrell, good on them. There is no fault in asking. There is fault, however, in thinking the team is better off with a 49 year-old guy than a 27 year-old guy when it comes time to play the games.

H/T to Marc Normandin of Over the Monster

Comments (24)

  1. Would you be willing to part with John Farrell in exchange for Clay Buchholz?

    Vote Now

    Not the other way round as you have suggested

    • Right you are. I made and noted the change.

      • Quite honestly it is a no brainer to me, manager can be easily replaced, starting pitcher (controllable for 4 more yrs) who can survive in the tough AL east is very hard to get. The Jays are desperately trying to develop a Clay Buchholz themselves too. I just hope that BOS is crazy enough to say yes, even include someone like Drabek to make it work would be a great deal for the Jays.

        • Include Drabek??? R U HIGH?? U must be the same guy who asked on if the Jays would consider moving Thames to secondbase

    • I think that close to 100% of people who are such dedicated baseball fans as to be reading a baseball blog in late November would agree that it is an absolute no-brainer to make that trade…All this proves is that 40% of general sports fans are ‘morans’.

    • Its sad knowing that the vast majority of Canadian “baseball fans” are clueless. Too many hockey pucks to the head

  2. Any GM in baseball would make this trade. End of [s]story[/s]

  3. In a related story, when asked if they would trade a loonie for a $20 bill, 40% of Sportsnet readers responded, “No way! My loonie is way heavier than that silly piece of paper!”

  4. I’m not versus the option, because I feel Farrell got the gig because he’d listen to mgmt and not put a big Presidential stamp on the team (a la LaRussa, Tito, Maddon etc).

    But by saying “Talent at all levels matters.” wouldn’t this incredibly smart and driven front office have chosen Farrell for that same reason? Or is he just another AA-style placeholder?

  5. And who doesn’t want to see Sal Fasano aka Fu Man Chu aka Year long Movember managing this team?

  6. This poll would make an excellent litmus test for licensing people before they can procreate.

  7. Those same 40% are the one’s that call into 590 after Jays games with quotes like:

    ‘We need a proven closer!’

    ‘Why aren’t we spending money?’

    ‘Get off my lawn!’

  8. I would trade Farrell for Buchholz in a heart beat. What I was wondering, however, is whether I would feel differently if Joe Maddon was managing the Jays.

  9. It could just be that 60-70% of Jays fans would rather see the team spite Boston by denying them something they really seem to want. We’re a petty lot that way it would seem….

    • Spiting your direct competition doesn’t help win championships. Fleecing them in very obviously one-sided trades could. I like the angle, but the best revenge is living well, and having Bucholz out there every 5 days and some other guy managing the club is living quite well.

  10. The same people that ripped Cito at every chance, are now saying that the manager doesn’t really make a difference. Which is it?

    Would I trade Farrell for Bucholtz? No. Would I trade him for Halladay, Lee, Lincecum? In a heartbeat.

    • You’re insane. Besides, compare the same hypotheticals. If Cito was offered for Clay Bucholtz, the answer just like The John Farell Experience, should be most positively “YES”.

      • Maybe for you. My point, was that on one hand, people are saying that the manager doesn’t matter, but yet they certainly thought it mattered when Cito was in charge.

        And no it is not the same. The Jays have already spent one year getting used to a new manager and a new system. Now you want them to spend another year doing it again. Not a productive way to move this club forward.

        • This is the dumbest comment I have ever read in my entire life. The guy is a F****ng manager. And a terrible one at that.

          Managers don’t win games (although as proven by Cito and John “Hit and Run” Farrell they can certainly lose a few.

          Do you think players actually give two craps about what most managers think or say?

          And do you truly think “Getting used to a new manager and a new system” takes any more than a couple of days in spring training if that?

          What the hell is wrong with baseball ‘fans’ in this city.. Why even comment when clearly there is no desire to even understand what makes a good baseball team?

          • Why is it, there can never be a civil conversation?

            In YOUR OPINION, managers aren’t important. Strangely, 30 MLB teams have not found a way to run a team without one.

            And what is your uniform #, since you seem to know exactly what the players are all thinking.

            It is pointless to talk to anyone with a closed mind, so will just leave it at this. Managers are important, whether you believe it or not. AA spent numerous hours and consults, and interviews to get the manager HE WANTED.

            I am sure that YOU know what makes a good baseball team. Perhaps you should give AA a call. I am sure he will be interested.

  11. Not only are most baseball fans in this city/province/country too clueless to realize this would be a great deal for the Jays, some of them even grow up to write for The Star (Cathal Kelly), TSN (all of them, though James Cybulski is the worst), Toronto Sun (Steve Simmons) and Sportsnet (Scott Carson).

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