John Farrell has returned to the Boston Red Sox as Bobby Valentine’s successor after spending the past two years as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Farrell was the Red Sox pitching coach from 2007-10 before joining the Blue Jays, who had a 154-170 record during his tenure. The Red Sox had pursued Farrell, 50, without success last year after Terry Francona’s departure.
“I’m extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox,” Farrell, who signed a three-year contract, said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s a great franchise in a special (SPEC) city and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to reward their faith in us.”
Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said Farrell told him about two weeks ago that he wanted to return to Boston. Because Farrell still had one year left on his contract in Toronto, the Red Sox had to send shortstop Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays as compensation and got right-handed pitcher David Carpenter in return.
“This was, as John explained it to me, a dream job for him, an opportunity he really wanted to pursue,” Anthopoulos said yesterday on conference call. “So we felt if there was a deal that made sense for our club as well, we were going to try to go ahead and complete that.”
Farrell is the seventh manager in Major League Baseball history to be acquired by one team while under contract with another, while it’s the fifth time compensation has been required in a trade for a manager, Boston said in its statement.
The Red Sox fired Valentine on Oct. 4 after the team finished the season 69-93, its worst record since a 62-100 mark in 1965. It was Boston’s first losing season since 1997.
When the Red Sox pursued Farrell a year ago, MLB.com said the only way the Blue Jays would have considered letting him go with two years left on his contract would be if Boston had given up pitcher Clay Buchholz as compensation.
“I probably don’t even want to go down the path of last year,” Anthopoulos said. ‘There’s enough that’s gone on this offseason with this transaction. I’m not looking to add more to this story or another dynamic. Obviously, it’s been a story that started last year, it died, and then it continued I guess in the month of August.’’
Under Farrell, the Blue Jays finished 81-81 in 2011 and 73-89 in 2012. Toronto finished four games ahead of the last- place Red Sox in the American League East Division.
Red Sox pitchers led the AL with a combined 3.87 earned run average in Farrell’s first year as pitching coach. They also led the league in strikeouts in 2008 and 2010, and posted the third- best ERA in the league from 2007-10, the team said.
“John has been a major league pitcher, front office executive, coach and manager,” Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington said in a statement. “His broad set of experiences and exceptional leadership skills make him the ideal person to lead our team.”
Prior to joining the Red Sox in 2007, Farrell spent five years as director of player development for the Cleveland Indians.
Aviles, 31, played 136 games for the Red Sox in 2012, when he had a .250 batting average with 13 home runs and 60 runs batted in.
Carpenter, 27, is 1-5 with one save and a 5.70 ERA in his MLB career. He appeared in 33 games in 2012, including 30 with the Houston Astros prior to being sent to the Blue Jays on July 20 in a 10-player trade.
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