December 5, 2012
On the Beat
Catching Up at the Winter Meetings
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—John Farrell knows the Boston baseball scene. He was the Red Sox' pitching coach for four seasons (from 2007-10) before serving a two-year stint as the Blue Jays' manager. Thus, he understands the scrutiny all Red Sox’ managers are under in New England.
What Farrell found out Tuesday, during the second day of the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort, is that former Blue Jays managers can also expect some scrutiny—especially if they leave the job to become the skipper of a team in the same division. The Blue Jays released Farrell from his contract on Oct. 21 and traded him to the Red Sox for infielder Mike Aviles.
Toronto reporters made Farrell's session with the media somewhat contentious on Tuesday. They peppered Farrell with questions about why he left the Blue Jays and if he failed to give his best effort late last season because he was considered Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington's first choice to replace Bobby Valentine. There were accusatory tones suggesting that Farrell lied to the media late in the season because his intent was clearly to jump to the Red Sox.
"At the time my response, which was all I knew how to say, was that my focus and attention was clearly with the Blue Jays," Farrell said. "So there was really no way for me to verify it. That was where my commitment was. So with that being said, my focus being with the Blue Jays, my total concentration was on the best effort that I could provide on a given day to put together a game plan to win on that night."
The Blue Jays lost 14 of their last 23 games to finish 73-89. Some players have said Farrell gave up on them during the poor finish. Farrell refuted that notion.
"I can tell you emphatically that my focus and attention was there every day," Farrell said. "And we dealt with a number of changes along the way, and I don't think anything that I demonstrated through my actions was anything less than 100 percent focused on the Blue Jays."