Farrell, are you in or out?Red Sox want Jays manager back
By STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency
|Blue Jays manager John Farrell walks back to the dugout during a game against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif., April 8, 2011. (JEFF GROSS/Getty Images/AFP)
TORONTO - John Farrell needs to stand up and say something.
He needs to be clear and concise and without any kind of contradiction.
He needs to say he’s not leaving the Blue Jays, that he has no intention of leaving the Jays, that he won’t consider any offer from the Boston Red Sox — or any other team — at this time.
And he needs to say it loudly, strongly, and with conviction.
The Blue Jays aren’t making any further comments on Farrell’s wonky status as their manager at this time, which is troubling on its own. Club president Paul Beeston doesn’t want to comment because it’s “hypothetical.”
General manager Alex Anthopoulos, who won’t confirm which day of the week this happens to be, won’t comment on rumours or speculation.
Farrell has said himself: “I have no idea and no comment on what’s happening in Boston. I am focused right now on preparing for what is best for the Blue Jays in 2012.”
What is best for the Blue Jays right now, for the team and for their fans, is for Farrell to come clean. For there to be complete clarity on his situation. Is he staying or is he going? Is he in or is he out? Did he drive or did he fly? And if he wants out, if he wants the Red Sox job, if he is even having second thoughts about the Jays job, if he doesn’t want to be with the young, eventually emerging Blue Jays, there’s the door.
It’s not like Farrell came across as the next Tony LaRussa or anything in his first year managing the Jays. He didn’t. One year in, we still don’t know who he is or what he is. There is no John Farrell way of playing baseball. There was not much definitive about his first big-league season. If his team had an identity in his maiden year managing, it wasn’t necessarily apparent. He was, in the words of Cardinals’ reliever Octavio Dotel, a first-year manager learning on the job and making mistakes. That was about the nicest thing Dotel said about him.
And now the Red Sox want him. Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo reported the other day that Farrell was the Red Sox first choice as manager after Terry Francona was removed from that position. Cafardo has been around forever. If he writes the Red Sox want Farrell, then the Red Sox want Farell. And when Ben Cherington is finally announced on Tuesday as the new Red Sox general manager, one of the first questions he will be asked is about replacing Francona.
If Farrell is his choice — after all, he did come from Boston and the Red Sox pitchers didn’t behave ridiculously when he was around — so the interest from afar is at least understood.
But as long as there are whispers about Farrell, any kind of whispers, anything with a loophole, this situation won’t be put to rest. It needs to end now. One way or the other. The Blue Jays deserve that. Toronto fans deserve that.
And one of the rare Blue Jay advantages of this off-season happens to be stability. They have it with Beeston and Anthopoulos in the front office, with Farrell as manager, and even with Don Wakamatsu as bench coach. By most standards, still trying to understand who and what Farrell is, that’s a reasonably strong group to build around.
The Red Sox have a new GM, who’ll have to find his way. He may not be in the Theo Epstein class. They don’t have a manager. They have roster instability and internal combustion regarding how their season ended. Healing won’t come quickly or easily in Boston. There are too many fires to put out. The more messed up the Red Sox are, the better the opportunity should be for the Jays to make up ground in the American League East.
What the Blue Jays don’t need is supposition and innuendo. They need to know what John Farrell is doing, whether this was a short stop or whether he’s not going anywhere. And they — and the good people of Blue Jays Nation (assuming, of course, there is a Blue Jays Nation) — need to know now.