The Boston Red Sox are in need of a manager for the 2013 season. They’ve been interviewing a number of candidates, but according to many on the Red Sox beat, the obscure object of the franchise’s desire is already gainfully employed with their division rival, the Toronto Blue Jays.
The accuracy of this is questionable. Certainly, it makes sense that the Boston front office would want to bring in someone familiar with the situations that are unique to the Red Sox, and as the team’s former pitching coach, John Farrell has this advantage. He has also gained further experience as the Major League skipper of another organization over the last couple of seasons. He’s a good candidate with a good pedigree. There’s no doubt.
However, he’s also a lot more interesting than the other managerial candidates in that he provides a developing story line beyond a dull interview process. It suits the media on the Red Sox beat that the team remain interested in Farrell because with this comes rumor mongering and speculation that can be stretched out to collect a few extra page views and a couple of additional retweets during this, a relatively slow point of the year for news on a team that’s not in the playoffs.
There’s something to gain for the Red Sox in a pursuit of Farrell, but there’s a whole lot more to gain for the local media covering it.
That’s because in order to acquire Farrell, Boston will have to offer the Blue Jays a fair amount of compensation. The Red Sox have apparently been down this road once before. However, a lot can change in a year, and General Manager Ben Cherington has already spoken to the media about expediting the managerial search after the process seemed to drag on last year.
So, again, it seems reasonable that Boston would be “trying to work out compensation for John Farrell” at this time, even if it means they’re merely preparing an initial offer for the Blue Jays. Last we heard, there had been no discussions between any of the parties involved, but whatever is to be worked out would have to be worked out with Toronto first before the manager would be approached. Therefore this seems like a probable and internal first step.
Of course, as Andrew Stoeten at DJF points out, the news wasn’t presented in this fashion. Instead, he describes the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo as writing a message that’s “familiar, potentially significant, yet entirely without elaboration.” The Boston media are well-practiced at this art.
None of the reports coming out of Boston are the least bit informing of what will happen, but the latest likely signifies that the Red Sox are preparing themselves and setting a maximum price in mind to pay for Farrell’s services. One can only assume that the Blue Jays front office would be familiarizing themselves with Boston’s organizational depth, and setting up a minimum price tag of their own. No one knows whether those two standards will meet anywhere on the spectrum of Farrel’s value, though.
Believing that one understands the probability of Farrell managing in Boston next year would be just as foolish as imagining that Toronto wouldn’t listen to any offer that the Red Sox make, even if nothing beyond internal discussions have taken place at this point in time. This might seem somewhat pedantic, but it’s far from generally accepted.
According to Buster Olney:
If the Blue Jays are actually willing to talk about trading John Farrell to Boston, it’s a clear sign they don’t view him as their manager of the future, and they should make sure they finish a deal with the Red Sox, rather than trying to haggle too much. If the Red Sox move on and hire somebody besides Farrell, the Blue Jays will be left with a manager they really don’t want, and who has an expiring contract next fall.
Translation: If this, then platitude.
I don’t understand how this is the case. The manager, like any other asset, is expendable. By entering negotiations, the Blue Jays aren’t committing to anything other than learning what Boston would be willing to give up. Baseball remains a business, even if it is a strange one. I’d suggest that if Farrell’s feelings were hurt by discussions between the two teams, he’s more than likely not all that appropriate as the manager of a Major League Baseball team going forward anyway.
For more on the Farrell to Boston train, check out the latest from DJF.