TORONTO – Brian Butterfield’s move to the Boston Red Sox to continue serving as third base coach under John Farrell doesn’t necessarily eliminate him from contention to be the next Toronto Blue Jays manager.
The 54-year-old likely has an escape clause in his contract that allows him to pursue managerial openings, meaning he could still be in play for GM Alex Anthopoulos.
With the Blue Jays unable to make any promises to their coaches as they search for a new skip, Butterfield guaranteed himself some work for 2013 while apparently keeping his options. It also gives him a fresh start to pursue his own aspirations should he be passed on in Toronto again.
When Farrell was traded to the Red Sox on Oct. 21, Anthopoulos phoned the entire coaching staff and told them they were free to search for other work while he conducted interviews, and whoever the new Blue Jays manager is will be allowed to choose his own staff.
Butterfield, a finalist last time, and bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who also impressed, are believed to be the main internal options to replace Farrell, but they’ll be on the backburner while Anthopoulos interviews candidates he didn’t speak with last time.
First base coach Torey Lovullo also joined Farrell in Boston, where he’ll serve as bench coach, and while Butterfield’s move wasn’t unexpected, it hurt given that he spent the past 10½ seasons with the Blue Jays.
The native of Bangor, Me., joined the Blue Jays on June 3, 2002 as the third base coach under Carlos Tosca, serving as bench coach in 2008 and ’09 under John Gibbons and Cito Gaston, and later returning to the third base coach’s role.
Renowned for his defensive work with infielders and his base-running work, Butterfield has also served on major league coaching staffs under Buck Showalter in New York and Arizona.