There is yet another story about how the Red Sox are lusting over John Farrell to take their manager's job in the Boston Globe. With the Jays in Boston this weekend we'll likely be hearing a lot about this.
I'm in two minds about it all. I dislike the idea of him going to the Red Sox as it suggests their manager job is more important than our manager job. I know Boston fans and sports writers are thinking this. They think 'who wouldn't rather manage the Red Sox?'. I hate that idea, I hate them thinking we are a second-tier team. But, personally I never think a manager is as valuable as a good player (if the Sox would be willing to give one up for him).
The Red Sox, however, could run into the same buzzsaw they ran into last fall: compensation. It's not easy to work out a deal for a manager at any time, but it's particularly tough with a team in your own division. If he's the manager you want, do you overcompensate to get him? It's a different sport, but the Patriots overcompensated the New York Jets in order to get Bill Belichick.
If they are willing to 'overcompensate to get him', great. Do it. Of course, learn something from the Red Sox and Cubs, get the compensation in advance, don't let him go there and then try to negotiate.
While Farrell has exhibited better communication skills than Valentine, a major league official who is familiar with the Blue Jays situation believes that Farrell "would be what they need [in Boston] to get through to the players, but I'm not big on his strategic moves."
Not that it is hard to have better communication skills than Valentine.Helen Keller had better communication skills than Valentine. Farrell seems very good with the press, seems to have no trouble talking to players, he even talked to me a couple of times, and was very thoughtful with answers. You don't see any idiot stuff, like him disliking a reporter's question and then the reporter is sent home to think about his actions.
Communication is large part of a manager's job, you really have to be communicate with your coaches, players and the press. He seems to get along with all his coaches, he's willing to give them credit for what they do. He doesn't seem to have trouble talking to players, he doesn't seem to play favorites, he doesn't seem to spend time with players he likes and avoid the others.
All that's likely more important than the 'strategic moves'.
There is a lot in those I don't like.
- The stupid 8 man bullpen. We need 8 guys in the pen, yet we have guys sitting around until they get rusty.
- Lineups. Yeah Lind cleanup isn't a good idea, not that he has a lot of great options. I'm not a big fan of Davis leading off, a .306 OBP isn't what I'd like at the top of the order. I know there aren't a lot of good choices again, but putting him there because he runs fast doesn't work for me. Then, even if you pick the perfect lineup it won't change things all that much. Still....
- I really would like him giving players days off, here and there, it goes along with the bench thing, but you have to build the bench so can have usable players on it. Rajai Davis has played every game since July 28 , players need the odd day off. Giving starters occasional rest might lessen the number of injuries.
- I also wish he handled pitchers better. It seems he leaves pitchers just a little too long. He doesn't seem to notice when starters are tiring. Or perhaps he does notice and figures pushing them a little bit will help them in the future. Have them push a little longer, maybe they can go deeper into games. I don't know, I'm just guessing his motive. I'd rather he pull pitchers when they start to tire.
- Early game bunting. I hate it. Playing for one run early is not a smart move.
On the whole, I like Farrell, but if the Red Sox are willing to give up something good for him, I'd do it. Mostly, I'd like to get to the end of these rumors. I'm not sure Alex would have hired Farrell is he knew we would be talking about he going back the the Red Sox all the time. It is a distraction, I'm sure Alex finds it tiring. I'm sure Alex is looking for a way to make it stop, but, with the Boston media, the only way to do that might to to let him go.