It seems as though the Red Sox, at long last, got their man in current (former) Blue Jays manager John Farrell. Farrell looks to succeed where established big league manager/acknowledged goofball Bobby Valentine could not.
Farrell comes to the Red Sox just as he came to the Toronto Blue Jays just two years ago: with an impressive pedigree, resume, and jawline but little in the way of actual on-field success. Is President Farrell the man to steer the troubled Red Sox out of the last place, in-fighting, tumultuous clubhouse morass of the last season plus one month?

Rarely will a man with less of a track record walk into the situation with expectations higher. Red Sox fans and, truthfully, the Red Sox front office are staking a lot on the fact that Farrell is Their Guy.

The Blue Jays receive Mike Aviles as compensation for losing their under-contract manager. The Jays send reliever David Carpenter to the Red Sox to sweeten the deal, ensuring their own satisfactory (?) return.

Mike Aviles is a decent enough player who can admirably fill in at three infield spots. He posted more than 4 rWAR in his rookie campaign but was been basically replacement level until this past season, when regular (enough) playing time allowed him to muster 2 more Wins.

Expectations among Red Sox fans are high, just as the information vacuum over the last week filled Blue Jays fans with an uncommon level of hype and wishcasting. Have the Jays kicked in a player to sweeten their return? What kind of player can anyone expect in exchange for a manager, anyway? Turns out a utility guy about to earn around $2 million for his flexibility is it.

Visions of Randy Winn, who went to the Mariners as compensation for Lou Pinella in 2002 fresh off a 5 rWAR season in Tampa Bay, danced in the heads of hopeful Jays fans. Mike Aviles ain’t no Randy Winn. What Mike Aviles is, in conjunction with maybe dumping Adam Lind’s salary, is a very good return for any manager with two .500ish seasons under his belt, a near mutiny and questionable tactics – no matter his jawline.

Good return or not: this puts the Blue Jays in a very, very interesting position. Now “find a new manager” shoots to the top of Alex Anthopoulos’ “My Ninja Powers Wore Off” offseason shopping list. Not to mention the fate of the entire coaching staff, some of whom were rumored to be heading to Boston along with Farrell.

The optics of the situation are pretty hellish for the Toronto Blue Jays. Getting a player like Mike Aviles, a versatile utility infielder who should not be playing every day under any circumstances but is better than nothing, ensures the weak sisters of the AL East tag sticks. Is it deserved? Maybe it is.

Getting a big league player for your manager or otherwise, the stink of this will take a long time to rinse clean. The tourist columnists and generalist trolls will have a field day and the talk radio callers might actually fill the Rogers Centre with the foam from their mouths.

That’s the only way they’re filling the Rog Mahal, mind you. There is only so much good will royal blue hats can buy. Appearing to lay down like dogs before a division rival is not going to win the battle for the ever-elusive Casual Fan’s heart.

Only winning divisions or pennants or titles keeps their attention (if they exist at all) and nobody at the “beating heart and not much else” end of the bench for a last place team like the Red Sox delivers anything more than the Blue Jays usual numbing sameness of approximated competence. This is both a very good maneuver out of an ugly situation and completely unacceptable at the same time. Who needs a drink?

Comments (71)

  1. Aviles makes zero sense to me. how can they argue they’re improving the team when aviles as an everyday MI is an obvious step down from either Johnson or Escobar. i’m sick of hearing about payroll issues.

    • Dear god that was painful and it was only the first comment

    • Johnson isn’t coming back because the team doesn’t want him and he doesn’t want to be here. This is not a payroll issue whatsoever.

    • Aviles is cheap. he made just over $1 million a year. that’s much cheaper than KJ. and he gives you an option if Hech doesn’t pan out at 2B. plus, like i said below, it frees up money – around $3million to spend on a SP like Annibal Sanchez or Marcum or someone.

      • i’m sick of hearing about how the jays, owned by a company that bills people per fucking megabyte on their phones, can’t afford things. johnson is better than aviles. full stop. money is irrelevant to me. the jays owe farrell nothing after the pathetic showing in the second half.

        • I guess you missed the part about Johnson not really wanting to be here.

          • well, he certainly accepted their money last offseason. so that shows you where his priorities lie. he took arbitration because his people (presumably) told him he wasn’t worth what they were already paying him. he didn’t re-establish his value. he isn’t getting a qualifying offer. all they need to do is pay for him.

        • + gazillions

          fuck Rogers.

          I weep for Alex. His job is extremely difficult.

    • Except he’s a step up from KJ, but ok.

    • if you are looking at this as an improving the team by adding a player…you are looking at it the wrong way. The manager didnt want to be here and reportedly AA wanted him out…so they got a warm body they can plug in at 2nd and get the chance to bring in a new guy that maybe is on the same page as AA.

  2. Aviles has a good slash line against Lefties. Ideally he’d make a good platoon with a Lefty Second Baseman… KJ. Don’t think the Jays can afford that though. Either way they’re probably getting a 1 WAR player for less than market value. Frees up money to spend on that SP they need.

    • the jays are over 100million dollars under the luxury payroll tax. that is the only number they should be managing a budget against. if aviles is the 2b plan next year, they’d better replace the two WAR they lose by replacing a 3win players with a 1 win player.

      • Exactly. Should of got Buerle, Bell & Reyes last year, then Jays, not Marlins, would be 2012 WS Champs. Wait… What? They didn’t won?

  3. John Farrell is worth a middle infielder with .660 OPS?

  4. Anyone that doesn’t trot out Adam Lind every god damn day would be great with me.

  5. If they take Lind’s salary and maybe give a decent prospect, that sweetens the deal. And who said Avilies is going to be a starter? He could just be a good bench guy to have, backup to all 3 infield positions. I rather have him than some non elite prospects that don’t have much of a chance to make it to the bigs at all.

  6. The Redsox media is going to be on his ass all the time with all the idiotic moves he makes

  7. If Lind goes to Boston, I like the flexibility this adds for he Jays. Clear up salary and add a guy who was one of the better defensive SS last year; this isn’t a bad return.
    Lind wasn’t helping the Jays and jeez, Farrell is a manager not a player.
    Decent move by the Jays.

    • Aviles is not nearly as good defensively at SS as Escobar, and he cant hit as good either. Aviles is a 31 year old backup.

  8. So missing the playoffs for nearly 20 years and letting your coach/manager walk away is a good thing?

    Dear Blue Jays organization, I don’t care anymore, keep feeding me tripe about next year, I just don’t care.

    When you decide to leave Toronto, please leave the door wide open. This way TFC and the Raptors will be able to follow your lead.. We can only take one sad sack of losers, and it’s the Leafs.

  9. Wait a minute. We can now flip Aviles to Dbacks for Johnny Mac, who could both manage AND play solid infield! Awww AA, all is forgiven.

  10. The only thing that will win back the casual fans is winning itself (and that means an actual commitment from ownership towards that goal).

    Getting rid of an underwhelming manager is completely irrelevant to that. Although without hockey, I suppose it could get way more media play than it should.

    • in that case, the lind for aviles trade has nothing but the potential to look bad for the jays in a year. lind goes to fenway and hits 30+ hr…i’m not going to bat an eye in surprise.

      • Have you been in a coma since 2009? Lind is the dealbreaker in this for you? Its Adam Lind!

      • The idea that Lind would suddenly learn how to hit LHP after failing to do it for his entire career is incredibly doubtful. But if they get him, the Red Sox are certainly welcome to give him the ABs to let him try, I’ll take much enjoyment out of it.

        • Lind’s ability to platoon against righties is probably more likely to create value, especially in fenway, than, say, Aviles’ ability to be an everyday MI. The problem i have is: what is Lind going to be replaced with? Maybe it won’t turn out to be that horrible – but as it stands, it looks bad, and, as I say, has the potential to look terrible especially if the Jays DH McDade or something next year.

        • i dislike lind. i hate watching him play. so i’m the first to walk him out the door. the problem i have is, he is at least worth more than aviles who had the worst OBP of all qualified players in the league last year. and, the jays basically didn’t get on base last year.

  11. Shit, so much agreement with this. It’s a perfectly reasonable return for a manager (assuming nothing of value is going the other way), and yet it still almost feels embarrassing to be a Blue Jay fan right now. Feels like they’re already irrelevant in the East in 2013 and it’s not even fucking November. Irrational perhaps, but yeah I can’t imagine I’m alone on that right now.

    • So basically nothing’s changed from yesterday, then?

    • If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly’.

      At least AA has the whole offseason to clean the stench from this one.

      The whole money constraints stuff I hear coming from upstairs is now what worries me.

  12. Mike Aviles will make a fine upgrade over Omar Vizquel. Farrell never grew on me, good or bad. So long John Farrell have a couple chicken wings for me.

    So now the Jays have to hire a manager. I hear Bobby V is available.

  13. First off, Rog Mahal! I like it.

    Second, yes, it seems like fair compensation for a manager. However, the reaction it’s gotten was pretty predictable. The Blue Jays are in the business of attracting fans and selling hope (or the more novel idea in toronto – wins) so the PR hit from this might be enough to make this trade a loss. I don’t know. Hopefully they have a strong enough off season to erase this from memory.

    Also, it may be best to sort out the manager shit before heading into free agency and trades etc. I’m not sure how it works but perhaps managers like to have some sort of input with player acquisitions.

  14. Jeez, , Johnson,Fraser, Oliver, Lyon & Villanueva all add up to a total savings from payroll of 18 mil. Litsch, Laffey, Lind is another 6.8. Escobar is 5. Total is 29.8. Santiago and Loupe for Oliver and Lyon work for me. Alviles for Johnson. Lincoln for Frasor. There is 20 mil plus left over by my estimate. That should cover most of Haren and Peavy, who can hold the fort for a couple of years until the studs now hitting Double A will be ready.
    Get a vet like Tori Hunter for LF.

    • only problem is that if you take out all those players you dont fucking have anyone left. you need more than 5 fucking players to make a team.

  15. Count me as someone who doesn’t like the deal. Frankly the Jays have the money to spend so “saving” the Lind money doesn’t really mean anything. They are throwing it on Rogers’ pile. I think it has gotten to that point – the point where, okay, freeing up Vernon Wells money is good, but freeing up Adam Lind money (7 mil?) means nothing. And if the Jays want to compete, they shouldn’t really be sending a guy like Mike Aviles out there every day. It’s not impossible that they can win with that attitude, but if they pass up the opportunity to get a good 2nd baseman because “we’ve already got Aviles”, then that sucks. Lind could have been a very decent part of a platoon, and if not, a bench bat.
    I don’t really care about Farrell, to tell you the truth, but getting a guy like Aviles smacks of acceptance of mediocrity.

    To me this is like subtraction by addition (Aviles) and subtraction by subtraction (Lind).

    And If Aviles is the next McCoy/Vizquel, don’t you just pick up guys like that off the scrap heap? I mean, it’s not like they play a lot.

  16. It bothers me that the Red Sox can snap their fingers and Farrell goes running like a good little doggy, back home to his true masters. I don’t care that he’s leaving (like, f him) but that it could happen so matter-of-factly just the way Red Sox writers and commenters so dismissively presumed it would, months ago, rankles. This is on AA and Beeston, as far as I’m concerned. Very poorly planned and played.

  17. To be honest I like the move, Aviles can take over Vizquel’s role but actually produce because he actually is a part time player not a part dead player. And if were dumping Lind on them too I’d hope we could get a prospect from the dodgers deal so it could be a 2 for 2 deal (well, except for half our coaching staff who may follow him)

  18. I think what might be missing from the thoughts of some Jays fans, is that fact that Farrell might not have been back for next season anyway you put it. Some story’s and rumors are true. Perhaps the one’s of AA and Farrell are true. So it is all possible that Farrell with one year left was going to be let go by the Jays one way or another this off season.

    Anyway, Farrell wasn’t doing anything to show improvement. Injuries or not. besides Edwin there was no progression in ANY of the Jays. No improvement at any position. Injuries or not this was a stagnate team.

    Ryan Sandberg or Ausmus please.

  19. I’m the most concerned with what coaches might follow him. Aviles in, Farrel out, possibly lind out? Meh. All inconsequential. To be honest the roster has bigger issues to address that were present before this deal was even made.

  20. Oh, and Rog Mahal, awesome.

  21. Is it wrong the the thought of Adam Lind suiting up in a Red Sox uniform makes me more excited than anything else to do with this story?

    Please, mighty spaghetti monster, Make It So.

    • yes it is. Lind was our 3rd best hitter this year. there are a lot worse hitters on this team than Lind. one more year of Lind wont kill us.

  22. How do we know what the casual fan will say? They seem to be invoked a lot around here. Would they be up in arms that the manager got fired? You seem to assume they would be. Can it not be viewed as though he got fired and we got something for him? It’s after year two, it wasn’t working and hey we got a decent major leaguer (or passable). But the ever elusive casual fan needs to be rallied against. So rally, rally against the dying of the light! But in the future maybe do a post of the characteristics you ascribe to the “casual” fan. It’s certainly a useful foil but I’m thinking its not very accurate.

    • I don’t agree. Check theScore’s facebook page, use a major hashtag on twitter, visit just about any MSM comment section…hell, look at your “normal” friends on facebook or twitter or wherever. The Casual Fan referenced here is more of a composite (of all the worst characteristics, to your point) than a bogeyman against which to rally.

      The difference, optically, between management firing a guy for underperforming and a rival team plucking their first choice guy from right under your nose, with little more than a “warm body” going the other way, doesn’t look good. With anybody. Casual fan and full time paid blogger alike.

      • The optics of trading the best pitcher of our generation away for some prospects weren’t good either, but it had to be done at the time. Just as this had to be done. There’s no point in dwelling on this aspect of it.

  23. But that’s not what happened. Boston said we’ll take your manager, thanks, and the big arm that was such a big part of the happ deal, and you’ll take our back up middle infielder and call it cake. Precedent was a decent regular (Winn for pineila) or a top 5 prospect (Ozzie guillen deal). Jays got neither and – in fact – had to give up value.

  24. Good luck to Bobby Cox….er…….John Farrell next season.

    It’s much different being the manager of the Boston Red Sox than the pitching coach. The media is going to eat you alive.

  25. Farrell wanted out. AA was in a corner over a guy who no one would say met expectations in the first two years. So we have a somewhat serviceable middle infielder out of it. The real concern is Farrell taking other members of the coaching staff with him to Boston. And realistically the team is likely to see turnover at 1B, 2B, LF and maybe upwards of 3/5 starters and a good portion of the bullpen only spent 1/2 a season with Farrell. I don’t think there are necessarily a tonne of meaningful relationships being disturbed here.

    It was unavoidable that the optics of this deal would be significantly worse than the deal actually is.

  26. Looking forward to the who the new manager may be. Is the talk that Sandy is the favourite true? or are people just saying that because he was the runner-up last year? Aviles looks like a decent bench guy with the ability to start in the middle infield when needed. Don’t this this at all. Makes the off-season even more interesting!

  27. is a former catcher.. /was a catcher

  28. You know what’s great? Reading this post just a couple of weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin knowing who the new pitchers. I remember when this post came out and its hangdog sentiment echoes my own pretty closely. AA was brutally human – no one wanted to play or manage in Toronto – the off-season would be an exercise in finding good value guys who might just be ready for a career year and if no one gets injured the Jays might make it over 80 wins. This is not the winter of our discontent. Hope springs eternal and we haven’t had such fertile ground since 92!

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