By Jeff Louderback
The 50-year-old Farrell, who served as the Red Sox pitching coach under Terry Francona before joining the Toronto Blue Jays as manager after the 2009 season, had one year remaining on his contract. As compensation for letting Farrell out of his deal, the Red Sox will send shortstop Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays, several media outlets are reporting.
To make it an official trade, the Blue Jays must send a player to Boston. According to the Toronto Sun, that player could be Adam Lind, a 29-year-old, left-handed hitting first baseman and left fielder who had 35 home runs and 114 RBI in 2009 and belted 26 home runs and 87 RBI in 2010 but slipped to 11 home runs, 45 RBI and a .255 average in 353 plate appearances in 2012.
Farrell’s presence will bring stability to the Red Sox managerial position. The former Major League pitcher replaces Bobby Valentine, whose only year at the helm in Boston resulted in a 69-93 record, a last place finish in the American League East and a multitude of problems with players, coaches and media members.
The 30-year-old Aviles had 13 home runs and 60 RBI in 546 plate appearances this season, but he was not considered the long-term solution at shortstop. Aviles is best suited as a utility player who can fill second base, shortstop and third base. He batted .250 and managed just a .662 OPS.
Likely, since 22-year-old defensive whiz Jose Iglesias is still developing his bat and 27-year-old Pedro Ciriaco is ideally suited as a super utility player who can fill Aviles’ infield spots, the Red Sox will either trade for a shortstop (Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus) or sign a stopgap solution until uber prospect Xander Bogaerts is deemed ready.
The 20-year-old Bogaerts projects as a middle of the order bat in the majors, but it is uncertain whether he will remain at shortstop or be shifted to third base or left field. He ended the 2012 campaign at Double-A Portland and could open next season with the Sea Dogs or a Triple-A Pawtucket.
The hiring of Farrell represents the first completed task on general manager Ben Cherington’s extensive off-season “things to do” list. Re-signing David Ortiz and Cody Ross; finding a first baseman, a left fielder and now a shortstop; and acquiring a frontline starting pitcher via trade or free agency are among the other priorities.