Can we back up the John Farrell express for just a minute here?
Word broke over the past few days that the Boston Red Sox have opened talks with the Toronto Blue Jays to work out potential compensation that would allow them to bring Farrell to Boston to be their new manager. A lot of silliness has ensued, ranging from the tired ‘ownership overturning Cherington again’ narrative to the ‘they’ve wanted him all along’ chorus line. Some are even questioning why they bothered to interview anyone else.
Maybe I’m overthinking this, maybe I’m not, but I’m not seeing this as the Red Sox dropping their toys and moving onto another one for the sake of it. It seems to me that talking to Farrell at this point in the process was always the plan and quite simply – was the right course of action on a number of levels.
First, I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox learned from their last round of botched compensation talks. Keeping negotiations within a confined period of time prevents things from getting needlessly dragged out. Having John Henry be the one to reach out to Blue Jays CEO Paul Beeston shows that the Red Sox are serious while simultaneously leap frogging any potential and unnecessary needling on the part of each team’s baseball operations departments.
Another big reason is that it would have been extremely unprofessional of the Red Sox to interview Farrell in the early stages of the process and leave the Blue Jays hanging in the wind waiting to see if we were going to decide to take their date to the prom or not. This way the compensation talks are serious, but not a detriment to what either organization is trying to accomplish.
For the Red Sox, it also prevents them from having to take a deal they’re not comfortable with. Brad Ausmis has created considerable buzz over the past week and has emerged as a quiet favorite among the candidates interviewed thus far. While some could speculate this is merely the Red Sox posturing with the Blue Jays by saying they have interest in another candidate, I genuinely do think they like him. Ausmis has spent the last few years in the San Diego Padres organization, working with some of Ben Cherington’s favorite people – including Josh Byrnes, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod and others. It’s hard to imagine he’s come without glowing recommendation from some of Cherington’s closest confidants in the past. Because of that, I’d assume he’d be a sensational fit with this front office and just the breath of fresh air the organization was looking for.
Should the Red Sox decide to pass on Farrell due to compensation or an unimpressive interview, I’m pretty confident not one person on Yawkey Way will be kept awake at night thinking ‘what if.’ If the Red Sox do work out compensation, they’ll have a tough decision to make. Some seem to think the Red Sox already have their minds made up. I’m not so sure they do.