As expected, the Toronto Blue Jays have finalized a deal allowing their manager for the past two seasons to fill the same role with the division rival Boston Red Sox. In exchange for allowing John Farrell to go, the Blue Jays received infielder Mike Aviles from Boston. In addition, the Jays sent right-handed reliever David Carpenter to Boston.
While the situation is always less than ideal when your manager asks to be allowed to manage another team in your division, the Jays made the best out of the circumstances. In Aviles, the Jays receive a piece that can be plugged into the lineup in 2013, which is more beneficial at this time than a minor-league gamble who may never make it to play at Rogers Centre.
In 2012, Aviles batted .250 with 13 home runs, 60 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases. While these numbers may not jump off the page, they were not aided by an abysmal July and September, in which he batted .194 and .170, respectively. In addition, Aviles has a decent glove and can comfortably be slotted at either second base or shortstop.
For the Jays, the acquisition allows the team to keep its infield options open as we head into the winter offseason. For example, Aviles can be slotted in as the team's everyday second baseman in 2013 if the Jays decide not to bring back current starter and impending free agent Kelly Johnson. In the alternative, if the team can manage to trade headache-producing shortstop Yunel Escobar, Aviles can instead take over there. Or, if the Jays deem top prospect Adeiny Hechavarria ready to play every day, and either Escobar or Johnson is retained, Aviles would provide a significant upgrade as the utility man off the bench when compared to retiring Omar Vizquel. As demonstrated by all of the injuries plaguing the team in 2012, it never hurts to have capable backups that can eat innings in multiple positions.
While at first glance it seems odd that the Jays also gave up Carpenter, it is likely that the team had no plans for him going forward. The 27-year-old holds a career 1-5 record with a 5.70 ERA, and was acquired by Toronto from the Houston Astros in July. In addition, because MLB rules prohibit a direct trade of a manager for a player, including Carpenter was necessary to close the loop. Overall, I have no problem with him being included.
Most important, however, the Jays yet again need a new manager. Hopefully, general manager Alex Anthopoulus and the rest of Toronto's management act quickly because it is crucial that the manager be in place before the roster moves are made so everyone can have input and be on the same page as we head into a crucial 2013 season.
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Del Pearson has been a big Blue Jays fan since seeing the team's best prospects come through Auburn and Syracuse as a child. You can follow Del on Twitter @DelPearson2.