I received a text message at 12:37 a.m. Sunday morning. Text messages at that time of the night fall in to two categories: good news or very bad news. Luck was with me, as I read the message from my friend Andy Gould who let me know that the the Boston Red Sox followed through on Ben Cherinton’s wish (some may say Freudian slip, as Bobby V. was still under contract when he made the comment) and got the man they wanted to manage the Red Sox for the 2013 season before the 2012 World Series had even begun. They acquired John Farrell, and the cost was not insignificant, as they had to send Mike Aviles, who is an above-average MLB shortstop to the Blue Jays as compensation . I had a conversation with my friend Mike with regard to this ‘trade’, and he made an excellent point: the Sox were likely going to lose Aviles because he would cost them too much money in arbitration. I countered that the Jays were in the same position with Farrell, except they were already on the hook to pay him for the 2013 season. Once everyone got past the posturing (and the outright lies with regard to Adam Lind joining the Sox), it’s a deal that actually makes sense for both clubs. The Jays didn’t really want to bring Farrell back for the 2013 season, and the Sox were going to likely lose Aviles in any event. Both teams got someone that they believe will improve their franchise.
The question that has to be asked is whether or not Farrell is a tremendous improvement over the Bobby V. Experiment. Strictly by the record, the answer is not really. Sure, Bobby V. took the Red Sox to their worst finish in over a half century (1965: 62-100), but he could easily put the blame squarely on his players hatred of him (as much as it may have been deserved) or all the injuries or the sniping he had to deal with. True, Farrell had nearly as many devastating injuries, but at least he didn’t have his most productive player literally quit on him and his team. Bobby V. could say that, and in fact, he did:
He (Ortiz) realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there.
Now, I don’t have any insider information on the full extent of Ortiz’s injury, and I don’t know whether or not his doctors actually told him that rest would be the best course of action as his agent Fernando Cuza has said. I do know that Ortiz didn’t from July 17-August 23, came back for a single game (he went 2-4, getting hits in his first two at-bats), and then never played again the rest of the way. That’s a big deal.
Ortiz’s attitude towards John Farrell coming back to Boston was overwhelmingly positive, saying:
I’m pretty sure he’ll walk in and handle his business. He’ll be in a situation where he doesn’t have to come in and learn the program. He can just do his thing.