Manager trade! According to several reports, the Boston Red Sox have worked out a deal that will steal John Farrell away from the Toronto Blue Jays and make him their next manager with a multi-year deal.
In return, the Jays will receive Mike Aviles as compensation for releasing Farrell from the upcoming last year of his contract. The 31-year-old utilityman played 136 games for the Red Sox last season, posting a .663 OPS.
Additionally, MLB.com reports Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind will also join Farrell in Boston as part of the transaction.
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The news of the unconventional swap — the first for a major-league player in the bigs since the Tampa Bay Devil Rays pried Lou Piniella from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Randy Winn in 2002* — broke late Saturday night. But Farrell leading the Red Sox has long been the subject of speculation and rumor.
*Ozzie Guillen was "traded" to the Miami Marlins by the Chicago White Sox last season, though for a minor-league prospect.
Farrell served as Boston's pitching coach between 2007 and 2010. He would've been the logical choice to replace Terry Francona after the sudden collapse of 2011 but had already managed the Jays for a season then and the Jays weren't eager to let him jump to a division rival after just one season. The Red Sox ended up hiring Bobby Valentine and, well, we all know how that worked out. A 69-93 record in 2012 and a last-place finish in the AL East.
Toronto wasn't much better at 73-89 last season, a record that leaves Farrell's two-year mark with the Blue Jays at 154-170. But as Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston writes, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington finally has his man after ownership's experiment with Bobby Valentine crashed and burned in just the first season. Indeed, this is the way it should have been all along with Boston's front office getting the guy it wanted. A skipper who can work hand in hand to develop an organizational philosophy and system that will lift the team to success: Terry Francona and Theo Epstein, Part Deux.
Farrell has a big mess ahead of him to clean up while Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos will have to find a replacement to run his organization from the dugout. Ian Denomme of Yahoo's Eh Game speculates that candidates will include Sandy Alomar Jr., Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu and Jays first base coach Torey Luvollo.
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