One way or another, the soap opera involving Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell and his continued courtship by the Boston Red Sox should not stretch out much longer.
With the World Series slated to start on Oct. 24th, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig does not want any outside distractions to detract from that event.
So you can expect this matter to be tied up by Monday or Tuesday of next week, if not sooner.
Things started to heat up again on Thursday following reports out of Boston that suggest the two American League East rivals are beyond the “preliminary” stage in discussing what sort of compensation the Blue Jays would receive in the event they agree to allow Farrell to leave.
Farrell still has one year remaining on a three-year contract to manage the Blue Jays.
The fact that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos abruptly cancelled a scheduled appearance on the Fan 590 radio station Friday morning only added to the rampant speculation that something is brewing.
Neither team wants to let this matter drag on any longer than it already has, especially the Red Sox, who need to get their house back in order after the schmozzle that was Bobby Valentine in his one season with the club.
The Blue Jays appear to be sitting pretty on this one.
On one hand, they might have absolutely no interest in parting ways with Farrell, as general manager Alex Anthopoulos has said on numerous occasions.
But if that were the case, why not follow through and hammer out a contract extension with Farrell to avoid the lame-duck tag that he otherwise would be carrying with him into next season?
Anthopoulos has said that it is something on his to-do list for next year.
And if Farrell is so committed to remaining the Toronto skipper and honoring the final year of his contact as he has said in the past, why not just come out and say he has no interest in the Boston job?
Instead we get the evasive “So where it stands is what I said - [I'm] manager of the Blue Jays,” which Farrell uttered during an interview with MLB Radio Network last Friday.
On the other hand, if the Red Sox are so keen in hiring away a manager whose value after two seasons in Toronto is still much in debate, why wouldn’t the Blue Jays listen to see what the Red Sox might be willing to offer up in the exchange?
Strengthening Toronto’s starting pitching is Anthopoulos’s stated goal heading into the off-season and reports out of Boston suggest the Red Sox might be willing to part with Daniel Bard.
Now Bard, who was decent out of the bullpen in 2011 but a disaster as a starter this past season, might not be everybody’s first choice as adequate compensation for losing a manager, but it is a starting point.
And if the Blue Jays think they can get what they believe is proper return for letting Farrell relocate to Boston, one line of thinking is that they could easily elevate Don Wakamatsu into the managerial hot seat.
Wakamatsu, the Blue Jays bench coach, has previous managerial experience with the Seattle Mariners, leading them to an 85-77 record in 2009 in his first season there. The 24-game improvement from the previous season was the best in the Majors.
True, Wakamatsu was fired the next season after the Mariners lost 70 of their first 112 games. The revelation that Ken Griffey Jr. was spotted sleeping in the clubhouse during one of the games couldn’t have helped team morale all that much.
Wakamatsu is liked and respected by the Blue Jay players and he has done a good job working with the Toronto catchers, especially J.P. Arencibia, whose defence was considerably sharper this season.
One way or another, this situation should be drawing to a conclusion quite soon.
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