The Boston Red Sox got their man and the Toronto Blue Jays rid themselves of a manager whose stock on the job was very much in question after two seasons guiding the club.
By allowing John Farrell to skip town for the manager’s position in Boston, even though he had one year remaining on his contract, was probably the best way for the American League team to extricate itself from a sticky situation.
Weeks of speculation that Farrell would bolt for Boston became reality when word leaked out Saturday night that the 50-year-old would be returning to the Red Sox team he helped win the World Series as its pitching coach in 2007.
The Blue Jays also sent right-handed pitcher David Carpenter to the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Mike Aviles to complete the deal.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos confirmed the trade on Sunday during a conference call.
Anthopoulos said that despite numerous reports that Sandy Alomar Jr. is a top candidate to replace Farrell in Toronto he has nobody in mind at the moment.
“I’ve read that there are guys who are front-runners for this job and so on,” he said. “There are zero front-runners.”
He expressed his frustrations over the continued leaks on the story that kept on cropping up in the Boston media, many of them that the Toronto GM said contained false information.
“I thought there was a lot of, to be completely candid, gamesmanship and a lot of things that went on I guess from a negotiating standpoint – not on our end,” Anthopoulos said.
There was one recent report that Farrell had gone to Anthopoulos back in July and asked him to release veteran infielder Omar Vizquel. Another stated that Adam Lind was going to be sent to Boston as part of the deal.
Both stories were completely untrue, Anthopoulos said.
Asked directly if he thought the Red Sox were behind some of the leaks, Anthoupoulos said he did not know.
“I wish I could tell you where a lot of this stuff came from,” Anthopoulos said. “But I just thought it was unfortunate overall.”
Anthopoulos said he was heading into the off-season under the assumption that Farrell would be returning to manage the club in 2013.
It was an injury-filled 2012 season where the Blue Jays stumbled to a 73-89 fourth-place finish. Toward the end of the year Vizquel criticized Farrell’s leadership, saying that there wasn’t enough accountability in the clubhouse.
In two seasons with Toronto Farrell had an overall record of 154-170.
Anthopoulos said he had a meeting around Thanksgiving when Farrell told him he was interested in the Boston job.
“As John explained to me this was a dream job for him, an opportunity he really wanted to pursue,” Anthopoulos said.
At that point Anthopoulos said that Boston had not even contacted Toronto seeking permission to speak with Farrell.
That came a couple of days later when Boston owner John Henry called Paul Beeston, the Blue Jays president and chief executive office, to get the process started.
Although Farrell had told Anthopoulos he had an interest in the Boston job, Anthopoulos said he was prepared to allow him to continue managing in Toronto even if the Red Sox never came calling about his availability.
When Boston was sniffing around a year ago about the possibility of hiring Farrell before giving the job to Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox were reportedly scared off after the Blue Jays demanded Clay Buchholz in return.
The Blue Jays then introduced a new team policy that prohibits contracted employees from making lateral moves to another major-league team.
Anthopoulos would not discuss the events from a year ago on Sunday and said that the Blue Jays did not circumvent their own guideline by allowing Farrell to move.
“We made a trade,” he said. “There’s a big distinction between the two.”
While admitting that having to hire another manager was not one of the things he was anticipating heading into the off-season, Anthopoulos said he is not angry with Farrell for wanting out.
“He gave everything he had,” Anthopoulos said. “He worked incredibly hard from start to finish. He never let up. His focus always remained on the job.
“Look, there’s no question you prefer something like this does not happen, it doesn’t occur. It’s a really unique set of events. I don’t think anybody expected Terry Francona not to be with the Red Sox.
In Aviles, the Blue Jays are getting a serviceable five-year veteran who batted .250 with 13 home runs and 60 runs batted in for the Red Sox last year.
Barring any other off-season moves it would appear Aviles will fit in at second base with the expected departure of Kelly Johnson.
Anthopoulos said Aviles was just one of several players whose name came up during the negotiation and was the one the two teams finally settled on.