TORONTO – The drama of the Boston Red Sox’s clubhouse dysfunction is once again bleeding over into the Toronto Blue Jays’ world, with a fresh round of speculation that John Farrell’s former team wants him back to take over as their manager.
Neither Farrell nor general manager Alex Anthopoulous, who repeatedly pointed to a change in club policy last year preventing employees from breaking contracts in order to make lateral moves, refused to be pulled into the mess Friday.
“I’m under contract here,” Farrell replied during his pre-game chat with reporters when the subject came up.
Asked if he was aware of the speculation, he responded “That’s the operative word – speculation. I’m not going to comment on speculation or conjecture,” before abruptly ending the session.
As for Anthopoulos, he dismissed the chatter by saying, “if there are rumours in Taiwan, if there are rumours in Japan, if there are rumours all over the world, our policy is our policy, that hasn’t changed.”
Last fall during the World Series, a report in the Boston Globe suggested the Red Sox had long viewed Farrell as the heir apparent to Terry Francona and that there was internal discussion on whether to make a run at him or not.
At the time the Blue Jays had a policy of allowing their employees to leave their jobs for another if they chose, but with speculation running wild amended it to allow departures only for promotions. They later were believed to have set the compensation price for Farrell at pitcher Clay Buchholz.
Despite that, a new round of talk has started in the wake of revelations of player disenchantment with current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, with Farrell again being floated as a possibility.
While his contract status is a tightly held secret – “we never discuss terms, length,” said Anthopoulos – Farrell’s initial deal is thought to have been for three years, leaving him signed through next year.
It is possible he may have already been extended – the Blue Jays would not announce such a deal – but even if he hasn’t been, the Red Sox won’t be able to pry Farrell loose without paying a very hefty price, or without waiting for his contract to expire at a date that only a few know of for certain.
So even if the Red Sox feel the magic bullet to their internal woes sits in the Blue Jays manager’s office, the reality is it’s beyond unlikely that they get him