If John Farrell is, indeed, on the Red Sox' radar as a potential replacement for Terry Francona, extricating him from Toronto might not be as difficult as you'd first think.
At least not if Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is to be believed.
In a recent interview with Canada's sportsnet.ca, Antropoulos said the Blue Jays' policy is not to stand in the way if another team wants to speak to one of its employees. He was talking specifically about the Orioles' interest in assistant GM Tony LaCava for their vacant general manager's job -- an upward move, whereas Farrell returning to Boston would be a lateral one -- but seemed to indicate the Jays' policy applies across the board.
"There is no such thing as tampering when it comes to our organization, no one has to be afraid of anything," he told Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi. "We will never prevent anybody from going anywhere . . .
"Selfishly I dont want any of our guys to leave, but at the same time I hope all of our employees have opportunities to better themselves, whether its responsibilities, financial, whatever it might be.
If Farrell were to step down as Blue Jays manager to take over as Red Sox skipper, that betterment would have to be financial . . . both in an increase in salary for Farrell, and in compensation for the Blue Jays. Money probably wouldn't be an issue for the Sox, though compensation -- if the dragged-on negotiations with the Cubs over Theo Epstein are any indication -- might prove more problematic.
Just how serious Boston's interest is, is a matter of speculation. Alex Speier of WEEI.com reported Sunday that, according to a source, the team has "no plans at this time to interview current managers of other teams". And Paul Beeston, the president of the Blue Jays, told the Toronto Globe and Mail that the Red Sox "haven't approached us" about permission to speak to Farrell.
But if they do, Anthopoulos didn't sound like the team would say no.
"If you have that philosophy," he said of allowing employees to talk to other teams, "in the long run it will serve your organization well, youll continue to attract outstanding employees because they know they have the freedom, they have upwards mobility, theyre never going to be held down."
Farrell, of course, was the Red Sox' pitching coach from 2007-10. His absence this year is cited as one of the reasons for the breakdown in clubhouse discipline, especially among the pitchers. His physical presence and demanding nature stood in stark contrast to the laid-back demeanor of his successor, Curt Young.
In his first year at Toronto, Farrell had the Jays battling Tampa Bay for third place much of the season before settling for a respectable 81-81 record. His rumored departure isn't going over well with at least some of the Canadian locals.