The last time a Major League Baseball team traded for a manager, that team went 69-93 and finished dead last in its division.
But John Farrell is not Ozzie Guillen, and the Boston Red Sox hope the trade that landed them Toronto’s former skipper proves to be more fruitful than the one that sent Guillen to Miami. At the very least, they hope he’s better than Bobby Valentine.
The Red Sox traded shortstop Mike Aviles to Toronto for Farrell and reliever David Carpenter in the seventh active manager trade in MLB history. The Red Sox formally introduced the 46th manager in team history during Tuesday press conference.
“We will give forth our best effort,” Farrell said (via the Associated Press), “as a minimum.”
Well, that sounds like a good start.
In his second season at the helm, Farrell led the Blue Jays to a 73-89 record, which was four games better than last-place Boston in the American League East. Meantime, Valentine’s first and only season in Beantown was an abject disaster. He alienated players, mixed up lineups, showed up late to the ballpark, crashed his bike in Central Park and threatened to punch a local radio host.
Farrell would be wise to avoid all of that stuff while focusing on helping the proud franchise bounce back from its worst season since 1965.
“As far as what you can expect from us on the field, I truly believe in an aggressive style of play,” said Farrell, who was Boston’s pitching coach from 2007-10. “That creates strategy that is relentless, and I think that is critical.”
The hire makes sense with Farrell’s history with the ballclub, but the Blue Jays might caution anyone praising Farrell for his loyalty.
Farrell had discussed his dedication to improving the Blue Jays in recent weeks, and in the wake of the trade, Toronto’s fanbase is asserting that their manager spent the entire season monitoring the Boston job situation and neglecting his job.
“That means there’s passion and there’s caring from the fan base,” Farrell said (via the Toronto Star). “But I would take exception that there was no intent to fulfill a contract. From my standpoint, I don’t think it affected how we did business one bit this year.”
Valentine clearly struggled to maintain his poise under the intense media scrutiny of the team. That burden is one Farrell said he’s prepared to shoulder.
“I think that’s one of the drawing cards to this position,” he said.