BOSTON (CBS) – The more things change, the more they stay the same on Yawkey Way.
First, the overpaid and under-performing “stars” got a ride on John Henry’s yacht, The Iroquois, and Beats By Dre headsets late in the 2011 season (which they used to tune out their manager). Then, they blew the biggest September lead in the history of Major League Baseball. Following the epic collapse, they railroaded their manager (the same man who covered for their nonsensical, unhealthy behavior for nearly a decade), got a walkover as his replacement, and finished with the team’s worst record in nearly 40 years.
Which leads us to Tuesday, the day the Red Sox will introduce John Farrell as the team’s 46th manager in franchise history.
The man these 93-loss, Beats By Dre-sporting players coveted as someone they can trust (to cover for their off-field shenanigans) is the same man who lost control of the Blue Jays’ clubhouse last season. He was so valuable to the franchise as of last week, it only cost Boston the friendly Mike Aviles for the manager to be traded within the division.
Back in the late 1990s, the Jets had to give the Patriots multiple draft picks, including a first-rounder, to get Bill Parcells from an AFC East foe. The Red Sox just gave up a man who couldn’t find playing time for the Royals less than a year ago to get the Toronto skipper. Think of that.:Mike Aviles is all the Blue Jays thought of the man who is now in charge of cleaning up the biggest mess in Boston since the Big Dig.
Last offseason – before Larry Lucchino shouted down and overruled his general manager to hire Bobby Valentine — the Red Sox inquired about possible compensation for Farrell. They were told an emphatic “no” and were forced to look elsewhere for Terry Francona’s replacement.
This year, it took less than a week and a utility shortstop to “pry” Farrell from the Blue Jays. What changed? Why would Toronto so willingly give a division rival, with far more financial resources, their manager for such a small price? Why the change of heart?
Because they saw his shortcomings this season. Because they know he is not the answer. Because he lost his locker room. Because he lost veteran leaders like Omar Vizquel. Because he was late to realize the homophobic slurs written on his shortstop’s eye black, and slow to punish the player.
This hire by the Red Sox accomplishes two main things: it appeases the pitching staff by bringing in a known commodity they have had success with, and it helps with offseason ticket sales as Farrell brings back the promise of World Series success. As with everything inside the walls of Fenway Park these days, the on-field product is a distant third in the minds of Red Sox ownership.
You get what you pay for.