Alex Anthopoulos Didn’t Feel It Would Benefit Blue Jays To Keep John Farrell If He Wanted Out

October 23, 2012 – 5:30 am by Steven Cuce

One of the worst kept secrets in all of baseball was the Boston Red Sox desire to have John Farrell become manager of the team after the club wasn’t doing too well with Bobby Valentine by the time the MLB All-Star break hit. Farrell, a former pitching coach with Boston from 2006-2010, left the organization after he was hired as the Blue Jays manager in 2011, but it was widely speculated he was the next manager-in-waiting in Boston once Terry Francona stepped down. Well, the timing didn’t quite work out for either party, but the stars aligned over the weekend.

The Red Sox came to terms with Farrell on a three-year deal after a trade with the Blue Jays, in which Boston sent shortstop Mike Aviles to Toronto and received reliever David Carpenter in return. Farrell made it clear managing the Red Sox was his one ‘dream job’ in his life and in bizarre fashion the Blue Jays dealt him in-division. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos explains his line of reasoning for dealing Farrell.

Alex Anthopoulos joined The Fan 590 in Toronto with Prime Time Sports to discuss Paul Beeston not mandating that the Toronto Blue Jays should trade John Farrell to the Boston Red Sox, the chances of Farrell not being the manager of the Blue Jays this year if he wasn’t traded, not believing the Red Sox tampered with Farrell, the Blue Jays not giving into Farrell’s demands, the idea of firing Farrell to send him a message and the Blue Jays’ ownership working out the trade.

Did Blue Jays president Paul Beeston mandate to you that the John Farrell trade to the Boston Red Sox should be done?

“No Paul doesn’t … you know Paul he doesn’t mandate. …We talked about it at length. We talked about all kinds of things at length. … I know no one is going to completely agree with this. Certain people say, ‘Well don’t see him [John Farrell]. Let him sit out.’ I’ve read some things where people say, ‘We can let him go.’ What it came down to was what is the right thing for the Toronto Blue Jays to do? He had a year left on his contract. I don’t know what would have happened next year. I don’t know, would there have been an extension and how the team would perform? All those things, but with the unknown and the uncertainty and the fact that this is one opportunity we wanted to pursue. If there was a way we could get what we felt was fair value, under circumstances, we felt we were going to pursue it if we could get it done. If not we weren’t going to make the trade.”

Was there any chance John Farrell was not going to be the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays if he was going to stay?

“No. No. No. [Host: Was there any chance you would have fired him?] No. I think I said that at the end of the season press conference. I did not go into the offseason with any thoughts of a managerial search or changes and so on. It was strictly a manner of being able to stay away and working on the roster. We have plenty of work to do on the roster, with the rotation, and so on. This did not enter into my mind at all.”

Do you believe the Boston Red Sox tampered with John Farrell?

“No. I know that has been written well and, honestly, stories were out there and so on, but I do not believe the Boston Red Sox directly tampered with John Farrell. No.”

So why should we care what John Farrell wants? Why should we care his dream was to manage the Red Sox even though he was under contract with the Blue Jays?

“Well, very fair. Completely fair point. I guess ultimately if that’s where he [John Farrell] wants to be and that’s the one opportunity that he really wanted to pursue — and I understand what you are saying; he made a commitment, he signed a contract. All that stuff is fair, but if you know going in that’s where he wants to be and that’s the job he wants to pursue and that’s where he wants to be and you don’t know what’s going to happen a year from now, I think it makes all the sense in the world to, let’s see if we can work something out. It’s probably best for both parties at that point.”

So if John Farrell wanted to be the manager of the Red Sox then why not wait until Boston hires another manager and then fire John Farrell to send a message?

“That is the scenario, but I guess I could turn it around and ask you how does that benefit the Toronto Blue Jays? [Host: Image and reputation.] Sure. That’s fair, too, and I can conversely, that’s to be debated, image, reputation and so on. Doing that, waiting, I don’t know from a reputation standpoint is that the way we want to conduct ourselves as an organization. Do we want to treat someone right or wrong? That can be debated, but the Toronto Blue Jays, in my mind, if ultimately this was going to happen, if you are taking the path that he’s not going to be here in 2013, we’re better off not delaying it, not waiting, like you’re saying. You’re going to have to wait another two weeks. There’s an impact to the offseason. We don’t get a player back. Everything is delayed just for the point of spite and vindication and what not. … Those would be personal agendas and that’s not in my mind what would be right for the organization. I understand and I’m sure there may be a lot of people — and you’re certainly one of them — that takes that stance. It’s fair, the opinion, but in my opinion it’s not the way to go.”

Did you or Paul Beeston work out the trade of John Farrell to the Red Sox?

“I’d say it’s a combination. I’d say the bulk of the discussions and dialogue were done at the ownership level, so that would be Paul Beeston, who represents our ownership, and he dealt with one point John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino at another point. I had some conversations with Ben Cherington, but not too many. The bulk of the talks were done at the ownership stage.”

Listen to Alex Anthopoulos on The Fan 590 in Toronto here

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