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.
BREAKING: Alex Anthopolous still thinks twitter is the dumbest thing in the world.
— Archi Zuber (@Archizuber) October 21, 2012
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?