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Toronto Blue Jays Round-table of the week...John Farrell

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Welcome to our first roundtable of the week. We are going to kick of this week with a discussion on the rumors from Boston swirling around Farrell and on what we think of his first few years as a manager.

Kyle Franzoni

For me it comes down to a question of where Farrell’s heart truly is. If he’s truly interested in returning to Boston and taking on that mess, then the Jays need to accommodate that and get what they can in return. There is nothing worse than having a manager in place that feels like he’s held captive in the role.

The true issue if they let him go is what they get in return. Toronto should ask again for Clay Buchholz, to which they will be declined. Adding another prospect to the mix does nothing to help this club in the immediate term.

As for Farrell’s performance, it is hard to truly give him a grade. He had a solid first season, but ultimately failed to deliver the team to the postseason. Rather than improve on that in 2012, the team fell apart, both physically and mentally, but that is hardly Farrell’s issue. I think he deserves the last year of his contract to show he can right the ship, but again, why keep him around for only one season when they can get something in return for him if he’s on a short leash.

David Schecter

I agree that the Jays shouldn’t want anyone that doesn’t want to be here. If Farrell wants to go then we can complain and cry about it but that isn’t going to get us anywhere. We aren’t just a development league for the Red Sox, even though I already foresee enough talking heads screaming about it on the radio and in print. He came from the Red Sox and we knew he was thought of as an eventual successor for their organization. I take a look at Joe Maddon and the Rays and I see that great managers can stay in less appealing organizations. So, I do think it really comes down to what Farrell wants.

Farrell has been a good manager but not great. He has certainly had his weaknesses (base-running and in game tactics), but if we are investing in a first-time manager then we have to be committed to allowing him to evolve. So, while it would be a loss to lose Farrell it would be a loss that could be easily fixed and maybe even improved on (I am looking at you Dave Martinez).

If we keep Farrell, then it is because he wants to be here. If A.A. thinks he is the right manager for this club then there should at least be a conversation about whether we should re-sign him or not. If we don’t keep him then it is just a matter of getting the most value out of the Red Sox as possible. That is exactly what A.A. is doing right now, but, I doubt we get a player that ever ends up playing in the major leagues forget a Clay Buccholz.

If we get anything of value for him, meaning any player or prospect that would play in the MLB then it is worth getting rid of Farrell, but maybe I am undervaluing the importance and ease of replacement of a manager?

Kyle Matte 

As you guys have said, his future here really comes down to the private conversations held between he and Alex Anthopoulos. If he wants to be here, I fully expect he’ll stay; but if he has any semblance of doubts creeping in, I’m sure Toronto would rather move on to someone with a passion and desire to see the Blue Jays return to glory. The compensation from Boston would be tricky, as seemingly any time a manager or general manager gets “traded”, things never unfold smoothly. I’d love to see Clay Buchholz or Rubby De La Rosa join the Blue Jays, but they would definitely be on the absolute high end of a possible return. Boston would really, really need to want Farrell for something like that to go down. In reality, we’re likely looking at a mid-tier prospect — I’ve heard Drake Britton’s name bantered about — which when you really think about it, would still be a pretty awesome return for a manager who, theoretically, doesn’t want to be here.

For me, personally, the two years John Farrell has been at the helm have been very “meh”. I don’t think he’s done a horrible job, as some people often suggest, but at the same time I don’t think he’s done a great job either. If he does leave, I really don’t think Toronto has much of a void to fill. There is a plethora of candidates available right now that I’d take over Farrell outright, let alone with whatever compensation we receive through trade added in. Even with Terry Francona settling into Cleveland, there are still guys outside the organization like Dave Martinez and Manny Acta who I feel would be great additions and would provide some drastically different views on things. Martinez is Maddon’s understudy, while Acta is one of the more sabermetrically savvy managers, fully embracing the value of outs. Within the organization, Torey Lovullo appears to be a highly sought after candidate and is well respected around the game. I’m sure he would be a fine replacement, as would Brian Butterfield, who has been with the organization basically forever.

Regardless of the conclusion, I’ll be quite happy when all of this Boston drama is over and done with.

Charlie C

I’ll start with Kyle’s finish.  I just wish this whole melodrama would sort itself out and we can get over it.  However it turns out.  But, it’s the off-season, and we need stuff to talk about.

As a fan of the team, I really don’t care if he stays or goes.  I think the impact a manager has on the win/loss record is a bit overrated.  Ron Washington is regarded as tactically useless, but Texas went to the WS two years running.  Farrell’s in-game management is a bit average, but he’s a second year manager who was lumbered (through no fault of his own) with basically an AAA talent level for a good chunk of the year.  If he made mistakes by being over-aggressive, trying to make something happen, why didn’t one of the many specialty coaches with more experience have a quiet word?  What’s the point of having a bench, pitching, hitting, 3rd base, 1st base, etc coach if not to offer advice.  If Farrell is too proud to use this experience, then we might have a problem.

I think the manager’s most important work is done in the clubhouse, and since there’s still a code of omerta, we’ll never really know how good he is as a man manager.  You get a sense the players respect him.  Vizquel hinted at a lack of leadership, but Omar was a waste of space this year.  I’m very wary of a man who has openly admitted to wanting to move into coaching questioning his current management team.

Basically I’m saying I’d be happy to see John in the dugout next season, preferably with a much better team to manage.  If both parties feel Boston is where he’d prefer to be, then fine. There are plenty of other managers out there (although I was mildly disappointed to see Francona sign so soon).

In regards to compensation.  Why not think outside of the box?  If the two teams can’t agree on a straight up swap, AA should suggest if they want JF then they have to take Lind as well so that he can hit him cleanup in their lineup or, if they truly want someone like Buchholz then offer JF and someone else, a prospect, someone off the roster, doesn’t matter, so long as they see the necessary value in what they are receiving in return

Kyle Franzoni

I agree with thinking outside the box, and frankly I couldn’t understand why the Red Sox and Cubs weren’t able to do the same with the Epstein compensation. Upgrade the prospect from Boston in return for another player included.

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