Manager John Farrell sits in the visitors’ dugout on the third base side during Toronto’s final trip to Boston this season. But the question on everyone’s mind is: Will he be sitting in the other dugout come April?
Just over a year ago manager Terry Francona and the Red Sox parted ways, and the organization reached out to Farrell, who had just finished his first season as Blue Jays skipper after spending four years as Red Sox pitching coach. Now, with Bobby Valentine on the managerial hot seat in Boston, speculation again has turned to Farrell.
Farrell, however, is having none of it.
“There’s a lot of speculation. But as I said last week in Toronto, I’m the manager of the Blue Jays. This is where my focus is,” he said before the Blue Jays defeated the Sox, 7-5. “I’m under contract; that’s obvious, because if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be sitting here today.
“I can understand the natural connection because I’ve worked here in the past, but my focus is clearly with the Blue Jays.”
Farrell has been asked about the Sox job numerous times.
“My answer is the same to family or friends or to everyone standing here: I’m somewhat aware of it, but at the same time it’s speculation,” Farrell said.
Farrell was asked how he would feel about starting next year with Toronto with just one year left on his contract.
“You’re putting the cart way before the horse on that,” he said. “Like I said, I’m under contract until 2013. My approach day in and day out does not hinge upon my status. Like I said, my focus and attention is today, right here.”
Not many players remain from Farrell’s time here. Only five current Red Sox pitchers worked with Farrell in Boston.
Clay Buchholz spent parts of four seasons with Farrell as he moved between Boston and Pawtucket.
He said he wouldn’t mind seeing Farrell return if — and that’s a big if — the Red Sox are looking for a new manager.
“It would be cool for him to get back and pick up where he left off with us,” Buchholz said. “I think everyone liked him when he was here. He was always upfront about everything; he was all business. He was an easy guy to talk to if you needed help in some category of the game.”
Buchholz was careful to specify that he only knew Farrell as a pitching coach, not as a manager. Buchholz said he couldn’t speak to how position players have responded to him.
“I don’t know John Farrell as a manager, obviously,” Buchholz said. “He’s really good at his pitching coach job, just because he could always relate. He was pretty good at breaking down mechanics in your delivery and everything. That’s really all I can say, as far as as a coach or manager.”
Buchholz would not say whom he prefers to manage the Red Sox next season.
“It’s sort of a sensitive subject with everything going on. I try to stay out of the middle of it,” he said. “Obviously that’s an organizational decision, it’s not left up to us.’’