Back Off Boston, Find Your Own Manager

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures

It’s only natural for people to want what they can’t have. But when people get really desperate, that’s when something so incredibly unattainable might seem like the only glimmer of hope.

I can only imagine that’s how the Boston Red Sox front office must feel like right now. With Terry Francona and Theo Epstein effectively jumping ship, it sounds like they’re hoping somebody else will try to captain this Titanic of a wreck back to shore somehow.

I can hearken the Boston Red Sox situation back to this analogy; perhaps Terry Francona played the part of the relaxed parent; the one that tried more to be the player’s friends rather than the strong parental figure they needed.


And on the other hand, we have John Farrell; since Francona may have lacked the stern presence, Farrell had to be the disciplinary in the clubhouse. He was the one that the players may have been fearful of, but they respected Farrell.

Again, this is all just speculation on my part, but coming from a household with two polar opposite parental figures, I can safely say this scenario is all too familiar. Once John Farrell left Boston, it sounded like the Red Sox lacked that hard-ass parental figure they needed to keep them straight.

So now the Boston Red Sox want John Farrell back as manager to help restore some order to a team whose reputation has been tarnished. It’s a very tall order, but one that apparently Boston is hoping Farrell will consider.

First off, the fact that anyone is Boston is thinking they can just poach John Farrell from the Blue Jays just goes to show how desperate the Red Sox are. If they’re looking for their former pitching coach to bring semblance to their team, that’s very high and mighty of them.

Secondly, can you really imagine the Blue Jays would let him go that easily? Last year, the front office painstakingly sought out a new manager and screened dozens of candidates. Remember the Blue Jays Managerial Candidate Bracket?

And then to let John Farrell walk right back to a division rival is such a turncoat move, I can’t ever fathom it even happening. Why would Farrell even want to go back there, let alone why would the Blue Jays let him?

By returning to the Red Sox, John Farrell would be returning to familiar territory and the relatively same coaching staff. John didn’t have that luxury when he took the manager’s job in Toronto, and might be a selling feature of going back to Boston if he’s allowed to select his coaching staff.

Other than that though, it doesn’t seem like a very attractive option for John Farrell to vacate a job after one year, only to make a lateral move to a different team. Then he has the uphill battle of trying to wrangle in a seemingly wild clubhouse. Not exactly the ideal situation for a new manager.

John took his bumps in bruises in his first full year as a manager in the Major Leagues, but that’s to be expected. I can’t speak from experience, but I imagine the best way to learn in that environment is to make mistakes.


By taking the manager’s job in Toronto, I think Farrell was at least granted that grace period that he otherwise might not have gotten in Boston. By leaping into a pressure-cooker environment in Beantown, there must be very little wiggle room.

Not that the Blue Jays don’t expect to be contenders either, but their timeline for contention is a little longer than the Red Sox. As we saw, Terry Francona’s head was immediately on the chopping block immediately following game 162.

Knowing what John Farrell knows after five seasons with the Red Sox and seeing what transpired this season, I can’t ever imagine John would want to return to that environment.

The Red Sox can inquire all they want about bringing back John Farrell, but he’s ours now. Back off Boston – find your own manager.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

11 thoughts on “Back Off Boston, Find Your Own Manager

  • October 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I think the Boston clubhouse situation has been blown out of proportion, and since they are they enemy and we want it so badly to be true we don't second guess the reports. Farrell more than anybody would know what it is really like over there, and for all we know he may like that atmosphere better than the Jays situation?

    That being said, I think the biggest draw for Farrell jumping ship to Boston would be the cashola. I'm not sure how much he is making with the Jays but as a first time manager I can't imagine it is all that much and if the Red Sox offer him say $3 million a year, that's got to be tough to pass on.

    The likely scenario would then result in the Jays giving him a new contract to keep him here and I don't like managers making that kind of money unless they've proven something.

  • October 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I think John Farrell will decide to stay, if only because he has seen how the Red Sox organization treated Terry Francona when they didn't make the playoffs. He can choose between remaining with a team where he gets a lot of autonomy and where he is respected and viewed as a source of hope for the future, or he can go back to a team that will blame him and take away his job if the team fails to produce next year.

  • October 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Cito made 2 million in his 2 most recent year according to cots I believe Farrell then would atleast garner 1-1.5 I think I think the fact he is under contract if the red sox were serious, the jays might not block it but, ask for a crapload of money, since they have him signed for 2 more years as coach.

  • October 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I can't see Farrell going back to that train-wreck. We have plenty of KFC and beer in Canada, and our beer is stronger, not like that beer lite shit in the 'States

  • October 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Peter, I agree – I think the turmoil in Boston is not as bad as the media has played it out to be. John knows the real deal, and either wanted to jump ship to Toronto at his first chance to escape that environment, or wanted the opportunity to take the helm.

    Perhaps the possibility of more money and a longer contract could sway John back to Boston.

    Sarah, exactly – Farrell saw what happened to Francona, does he really want to jump back into that fire? He has his vision for this team, and would be weird for him to abandon it after just one year.

    Psmith, I'm not sure what would happen with compensation. Maybe a couple of draft picks, or at least that cash in return for whatever is remaining on the contract.

    Tony, in comparison to American Beer, I know Canadian Beer is viewed as moonshine … but isn't 4% in the US 4% here?

    I think it would be interesting to do a taste test with the exact same beer, but one brewed in the US and one in Canada to see if there are any differences. Maybe a good off-season project!

  • October 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Usually, ours are 5%, or 5.5

  • October 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    BTW, I'd be willing to take on that challenge. Purely in the name of science of course.

  • October 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Tony, I think that's a fantastic idea. I might just have to join you in that challenge!

  • October 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    The problems in Boston are completely overblown by the media. With no Celtics to cover, they don't know what to do with themselves.

    I think the main attration with Farrell is that Theo always liked multiple team trades. The idea of making a deal with compensation going from Chicago to San Diego and Boston, and from Boston to Toronto must be making his head spin with glee.

  • October 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Section 36, I don't doubt things have been blown way out of proportion. The media, bloggers, and fans salivate at stories like this.

    But now that the Blue Jays have denied anybody to interview for lateral moves basically puts this whole issue to rest. John Farrell isn't going anywhere.

  • October 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I'd just like to say that I am a Red Sox fan for this.
    The Red Sox front office hasn't said anything about getting Farrell, actually they have stated before that they wont be even doing interviews with anyone currently managing. The way this all started was beat writers for Boston thinking "hey the Red Sox havent been in the media for 10 seconds".
    The Blue Jay GM has said before anyone can leave for any job in at anytime they want. So really the whole decision is up to John Farrell if he wants to stay he will, if he wants to leave he will.

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