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Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell argues a call with home plate umpire Bill Welke (L) after Texas Rangers base runner David Murphy was called safe at home plate during the third inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto August 19, 2012. Texas won 11-2. (MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS)
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell argues a call with home plate umpire Bill Welke (L) after Texas Rangers base runner David Murphy was called safe at home plate during the third inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto August 19, 2012. Texas won 11-2. (MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS)

Baseball American League

Blue Jays remain quiet on Farrell front Add to ...

Reports out of Boston continue to suggest John Farrell remains the Red Sox’s first choice to become their new manager.

And the Toronto Blue Jays, for the most part, have remained silent on the subject – leading to speculation discussions are being conducted behind the scenes.

That the Blue Jays are saying little about the situation should not come as any surprise. The American League club is holding all the cards in this one.

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Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said during his end-of-season meeting with the media last week that Farrell – who has one year remaining on his three-year contract – “is the manager of our club.”

Farrell’s name started circulating in Boston immediately after Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was fired the day after the regular-season concluded.

Anthopoulos said he does not have a problem with Farrell returning to Toronto to manage on a one-year deal and suggested a contract extension was something that could be pursued at some point.

“I think I’ve been pretty consistent from that standpoint. We need to focus on the roster, we need to focus on making the rotation better – those are the areas of this team that needs to be addressed,” Anthopoulos said.

Farrell has said even less about his future, other than the obligatory statement that he is “committed” to the Blue Jays.

This is the second year in a row Farrell has found himself in the Red Sox crosshairs. After parting ways with Terry Francona following the 2011 season, Boston contacted the Blue Jays seeking permission to speak with Farrell, who was the BoSox pitching coach when they won the World Series in 2007.

The Jays, who went through an exhaustive search process before hiring Farrell in October of 2010, wanted no part of Boston’s advances. The Toronto organization went as far as to change its policy to outlaw any “lateral moves” by its employees to other teams.

Of course, that wouldn’t prevent the Blue Jays from seeking compensation in exchange for Farrell.

The asking price a year ago was rumoured to be Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz. Fast forward one year, and disappointing 2012 seasons by both teams, and it only figures that if the Red Sox are still interested in Farrell, the price has only risen.

Despite an unappealing 154-170 record over his first two years in Toronto, the Blue Jays still have faith in Farrell’s abilities as a manager and would welcome him back, even as a “lame duck.”

That said, Anthopoulos would be foolish not to entertain any overtures from Boston, just to see what the Red Sox would be willing to pay. The GM’s primary goal during the off-season is to beef up the rotation – and if it can come at the expense of a division rival, so much the better.

Both Buchholz and pitcher Daniel Bard have been floated in media reports as a fair exchange for the Toronto manager. But the longer it drags out, the less likely anything will happen as top managerial candidates are already being snapped up.

Francona has signed on with the Cleveland Indians. The search is on for a new Colorado Rockies manager, while the future of Ozzie Guillen with the Miami Marlins also remains unclear.

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