TORONTO - There’s a school of thought that the Blue Jays did not get enough for out going manager John Farrell based on how badly (apparently) the Boston Red Sox wanted him.
And I subscribe to that school of thought.
The Jays easily could have told the Sox no thanks, and then let them wallow in their dysfunction. (Could you imagine the dog and pony show in Boston next year if they were forced to hire an interim manager while waiting for Farrell’s contract to expire?). Surely Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos could have made the Sox sweat a little more and offer a player with more of an upside than Mike Aviles. AA said something about how he understood how managing the Red Sox was a “dream job” for Farrell. Who cares? Being a Major in the French Foreign Legion is a dream job of mine, but it’s never going to happen.
Why bend over backwards for this guy? The Jays should have told Fenway Farrell that he wasn’t going anywhere until they got what they wanted from the Red Sox. The Jays owe Farrell nothing. It’s actually the other way around. They gave him his big break. They wouldn’t have been in the wrong by resisting Boston’s advances. The Jays were in the driver’s seat with this deal.
But, alas, it’s all water under the bridge now that AA has played his hand and the Jays received an average big-league middle infielder for Farrell and pitching prospect David Carpenter. Now, I like AA a lot, but I don’t know how anyone could be impressed with this deal. Even if you thought Farrell was an average manager, the Red Sox obviously wanted him in a big way. So why not bleed them for more? These are the Boston Red Sox, Toronto’s hated division rivals, one of the big-money teams in Major League Baseball. To hell with them. Kick ’em when you get the chance.
On the other hand, getting rid of Farrell is not such a bad thing.
Here’s a guy who basically lost control of the clubhouse this season. Break down what happened this year: Yes, injuries did the Jays in more than anything else. But away from the injured stars, the season was largely a disaster. For every Edwin Encarnacion and Casey Janssen success story, there were major setbacks, young players whose games deteriorated, Ricky Romero, Brett Lawrie, Henderson Alvarez and Colby Rasmus. Rasmus came in with so much fanfare that many Jays fans were expecting a future all-star. Instead, he batted a paltry .223, though he did hit a reasonable 23 home runs. Farrell made his bones as a pitching coach, but Alvarez and Romero (especially) imploded on the mound.
And what about Adam Lind and Travis Snider? Two big pieces of the puzzle going forward for the Jays — at least that’s what we were told for years — who never made it under Farrell. Snider finished the season in Pittsburgh. And, sure, Lawrie has tremendous upside as a player. But let’s give Omar Vizquel his due. The future hall of famer was right on when he said that players (like Lawrie), who kept making the same mistakes over and over, should have been held accountable and, if need be, punished. Lawrie kept making mistakes, and his batting suffered. What happened to his home run swing?
And as the great Fergie Olver might say, how about Yunel Escobar? Clearly, a clubhouse is far too loosey-goosey when a player like Escobar felt he could write anything he wanted under his eyes and not worry about the consequences.
Continued bonehead mistakes, Hall of Fame veterans firing off public criticisms, veteran players suggesting that the team lacked leadership, idiotic shortstops writing homophobic statements under his eyes for the world to see ... clearly Farrell did not have a firm grip on the clubhouse.
So good riddance. And good luck with the dream job.
It’s just too bad AA couldn’t have squeezed a little more out of the cocky Beantowners.