Red Sox

Jays may not stand in Farrell's way


Jays may not stand in Farrell's way

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, 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'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 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.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement


MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young


Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.