Ferguson: Red Sox pursuit of Jays' Farrell continues

Scott Ferguson
10/5/2012 11:47:37 AM
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A year ago, the Boston Red Sox went through all the proper channels to try and convince the Blue Jays to concoct a deal with them for manager John Farrell,  who had just completed his first season in Toronto.

The Blue Jays said no - as Alex Anthopoulos spelled out that the club had a policy of not allowing employees to leave the organization to make lateral moves.

The Red Sox then went out and signed Bobby Valentine, who was apparently the choice of club President Larry Lucchino and not new GM Ben Cherington (who would have opted for Dale Sveum who wound up with the Cubs).

We all know how the Valentine season went. The Red Sox used more players than the Jays' 56, had more players on the DL than the Jays (27) and had more clubhouse turmoil than the Jays. And on Thursday, Bobby V. was shown the door with one year left on his contract.

The Red Sox have never really given up on trying to get Farrell. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (who appeared on Cybulski & Co. on TSN 1050 on  Thursday night), the Red Sox again approached the Jays about Farrell - about a month ago. Ever since then, there have been well-placed leaks in the New England media about the BoSox wanting Farrell - with many insisting it was as good as a done deal at an appropriate time in the off-season.

Now the word is out that the Sox will indeed ask for the Jays' permission to talk with Farrell, who still has one year left in his deal. So was this an orchestrated campaign by the big money Red Sox to get what they want?

We'll never know if Farrell was complicit in this, but at least he has handled the situation with as much dignity and clarity as possible.

In Major League history, managers have been traded to another team four times - the most recent being Ozzie Guillen being dealt to the Marlins last year. But this type of scenario has never unfolded during a season to this extent.

If John Farrell wants to leave and the Jays are willing to let him go to a division rival, then they should be as well compensated as possible. And if what the New England media are reporting is actually true, then Bud Selig should step in and warn every Major League club that this won't be tolerated during a season.
Now John Farrell was a former pitcher - and the position one plays should not define your future. Still, it's fascinating to look at how few pitchers have actually gone on to have success as Major League managers or even how few even have Major League managing jobs.

Of the 30 skippers before the start of this season, only two were former pitchers - Farrell and the Padres' Bud Black. If you go back to 1970, I could find only two managers of World Series Champions who were former hurlers - Bob Lemon of the 1978 Yankees and Dallas Green of the 1980 Phillies.

Even Lemon has a caveat. He made the majors in 1941 as a utility infielder. When he returned to the majors in 1946 after serving in World War II, he became a pitcher.

John Farrell could turn into a standout manager, but he'd certainly be bucking the odds based on what's happened over the last five decades.

Wild Card Play-in Predictions

In the National League, Atlanta will be trying to make up for the collapse of a year ago, where St. Louis passed them on the final day of the season and went on as a Wild Card to win the World Series.

Atlanta has the home field advantage and the hottest pitcher in the majors in Kris Medlen (Braves have won a record 23 games in a row that Medlen has started). They also have a better and deeper bullpen.

Still, in a one game series, I like the Cardinals and their Fall Classic experience. Kyle Lohse quietly put together a brilliant 16-win season and will be highly sought after free agent in the off-season. No one will ever forget what Albert Pujols meant to the Redbirds, but Carlos Beltran's season took a lot of the sting out of losing Pujols as a free agent.

In the American League: Baltimore has had a wonderful season, battle-toughened by an incredible record in one run and extra-inning games. Their bullpen is outstanding and Adam Jones should one day be a top MVP candidate.

With all of that said (and even considering Texas faded in the stretch and lost the West title to Oakland), I'm still going with the Rangers at home. The key is the pitching matchup. Thr Orioles have never faced Yu Darvish, while lefty Joe Saunders has struggled against the Rangers and has never won at Arlington.

If both games unfold as such, Texas will open the division series against the Yankees at home, while Oakland will open on the road at Detroit.
In the National League, Washington would open at St. Louis and San Francisco would be home to Cincinnati for the first two games of their best of five set.

It's going to be a great holiday weekend of baseball!

A long-time member of the baseball beat, Scott Ferguson covers the Blue Jays for TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto. His baseball blog appears on during the season.

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