Blue Jays trade manager John Farrell to Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are hoping that two big trades will help them

get back to the playoffs after missing out three years in a

row.

The first was a genuine blockbuster that sent Adrian Gonzalez,

Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles

Dodgers and freed up more than $250 million in future salaries. The

second was the deal that brought John Farrell back to Fenway Park

on Sunday.

The Red Sox hired Farrell to be their new manager after pursuing

him for more than a year, agreeing to trade infielder Mike Aviles

to the Blue Jays to pry their former pitching coach out of the

manager’s chair in Toronto.

”I’m extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox and to

Boston,” Farrell said in a statement released by the Red Sox. ”I

love this organization. It’s a great franchise in a special city

and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to

reward their faith in us.”

Farrell had been the Toronto manager the past two seasons,

posting a 154-170 record with two fourth-place finishes. He had one

year remaining on his contract with the Blue Jays, allowing them to

demand compensation from Boston.

It’s the second time the Red Sox have pursued Farrell for their

managerial job, closing the deal this time by working out a rare

but not unprecedented trade for an active manager. Boston will give

up Aviles, who hit .250 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs last season, and

get right-hander David Carpenter in return.

It is the seventh time in major league history that one team has

traded for a manager while he was under contract to another, the

Red Sox said. Last year, the Miami Marlins obtained Ozzie Guillen

from the Chicago White Sox in a deal that also included three

players.

Farrell received a three-year deal in Boston, which also

interviewed San Diego Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, New

York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Los Angeles Dodgers third base

coach Tim Wallach and Baltimore Orioles third base coach DeMarlo

Hale.

”We met some outstanding managerial candidates in this

process,” Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said in the statement.

”John Farrell brings a unique blend of managerial experience,

leadership and presence, pitching expertise, front office

experience, and an established track record with many members of

our uniformed staff and members of our front office. He will hit

the ground running.”

The pitching coach in Boston for four years, Farrell was the

heir apparent to Terry Francona before going to Toronto two seasons

ago when it seemed like Francona would be sticking around

long-term. When Francona was let go after an unprecedented collapse

in September 2011, the Red Sox tried to pry Farrell loose from the

Blue Jays.

But Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos asked for a top

player in return for Farrell, who had been there only one season

and gone 81-81.

So the Red Sox turned to Bobby Valentine to bring discipline to

a clubhouse in which players drank beer and ate fried chicken in

the clubhouse during games. But the former New York Mets and

Japanese Leagues manager alienated so many players that the team

was forced to bail out on the season, trading three highly paid but

underperforming players for a chance at a fresh start in 2013.

Valentine was fired after finishing in last place with a 69-93

record – four games behind Toronto and the team’s worst record

since 1965. General manager Ben Cherington was back in the market

for a manager, and this time he didn’t need a hard-line

disciplinarian.

”The team is in a different point than it was last year when we

hired Bobby,” Cherington said after firing Valentine. ”The roster

was fairly mature and we felt, mistakenly in retrospect, but we

felt at the time, that we had a chance to win and the team was

ready to win. We’re now at a different point.”

Farrell, 50, had a promising pitching career with the Cleveland

Indians before an injury kept him out for the entire 1991 and `92

seasons. He returned to pitch sparingly in four more seasons,

finishing his career with a 36-46 record and a 4.56 ERA.

He coached at Oklahoma State, where he pitched in college, from

1997-2001 and then spent five years in the Indians’ front office

before Francona, a former Cleveland teammate, brought him to Boston

as pitching coach. Under Farrell’s guidance from 2007-10, Red Sox

pitchers held opponents to an AL-low .254 batting average and led

the league with in 4,771 strikeouts.

Farrell is familiar with Red Sox management from his time in

Boston and has worked with many of the club’s pitchers – including

starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, who were All-Stars under his

tutelage.

”His broad set of experiences, and exceptional leadership

skills, make him the ideal person to lead our team,” Cherington

said in the news release. ”I have known him in various capacities

throughout my career, and I hold him in the highest regard as a

baseball man and as a person.”

Aviles, 31, is a career .277 hitter who played 136 games for the

Red Sox in 2012, mostly at shortstop.

Carpenter, 27, is 1-5 with one save and a 5.70 ERA over 67

career relief appearances with the Astros and Blue Jays. He

appeared in 33 games in 2012, 30 with the Astros before being sent

to the Blue Jays in a 10-player trade on July 20; he also made 23

minor-league appearances last season.

Originally a catcher, Carpenter converted to pitching in

2008.