Two seasons after leaving Boston to become manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, John Ferrell is heading back to the Red Sox.
According to several reports, the former Red Sox pitching coach signed a multi-year deal with the Red Sox to manage the club through the 2015 season. MLB.com confirmed the report and said an official announcement is imminent.
Farrell managed the Blue Jays for two full seasons, compiling a 154-170 record. He was courted by the Red Sox last season after they fired two-time World Series winner Terry Francona. The Blue Jays then created a team rule preventing lateral moves in an effort to retain Farrell.
The Blue Jays will receive compensation for the signing, though it's reported the player coming back won't be announced for a couple days. It was reported early Sunday that the player was a major-leaguer in 2012. It was then confirmed by sources that the player is shortstop Mike Aviles. Aviles, 31, batted .250 with 13 home runs and 60 RBIs in 2012.
Speculation that the Red Sox coveted Farrell swirled after they fired Bobby Valentine earlier in October. In his one season in Boston, Valentine went 69-93 and finished last in the AL East, four games behind the Blue Jays.
After a disappointing 2012 season, the Blue Jays seemed content to let Farrell go to Boston despite having one more year remaining on his contract.
The Blue Jays now must find a new manager. The early favourite appears to be former All-Star catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. Alomar was reportedly a finalist for the Blue Jays job two years ago that went to Farrell. He was passed over for a job in Cleveland, where he spent 11 years as a player, when the Indians hired Francona.
Other contenders for the Toronto job would likely include Blue Jays first-base coach Torey Luvollo, who was a contender for the Red Sox job last year (though he could also follow Farrell to Boston), as well as Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who has previous managerial experience with the Seattle Mariners.
Update: The Red Sox made the news official on Sunday just after 2 p.m.
The Boston Red Sox today announced that they have acquired Manager John Farrell from the Toronto Blue Jays and agreed to a three-year contract that will run through 2015. As compensation to the Blue Jays, to whom Farrell was under contract through 2013, the Red Sox sent shortstop Mike Aviles and received in return right-handed pitcher David Carpenter.
"I'm extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox and to Boston," said Farrell. "I love this organization. It's a great franchise in a special city and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to reward their faith in us."
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos plans to address the media at a 3 p.m. conference call. But the deal is done and it's Carpenter headed to Boston with Farrell, not first baseman Adam Lind, as had previously been reported.