Gammons: Farrell Could Probably Return To the Jays If He Wants

Did you think I was joking?

Now, clearly Gammons is only saying that this is theoretically a thing that could probably happen if Farrell wanted it to, so there’s no need for anybody to go around the bend about it. But there really is a fit there. And, if we actually let ourselves think about it for a second, rather than simply going blind with rage, reason to like the idea of bringing in Farrell, too.

It’s the same reason that we liked that the Jays brought in Ben Cherington and Steve Sanders, or that we liked the idea of Farrell in the first place.

Don’t forget that he was supposed to be an “executive on the field” for the Jays. An extra set of eyes as a former pitching coach. A key voice in terms of player development — something I recall pointing out when he criticized the Jays’ approach as a “scouting based organization” in mid-2013. “Supposed to” is the important word here. As a manager, the idea of Farrell always seemed a hell of a lot better than Farrell in practice. But if he were to come back to do the kind of player development work that he was so successful at in Cleveland? Already having relationships and shared philosophies with Shapiro, who hired him in Cleveland, Cherington, who oversees player development and hired Farrell when he ran the Red Sox, and Wedge, who was the field manager for much of Farrell’s time in Cleveland?

Were it not for all that baggage, fans would be clamoring for the club to go out and get him. Or, at least, fans who are interested enough in front office minutia to know who Steve Sanders and Ben Cherington are would.

The other fans? Well, they’re a problem. At least in so much as the front office gives a shit. It’s entirely possible that the front office by now recognizes that the only thing that’s going to get the majority of Blue Jays fans to believe in and trust them is winning baseball games. There is just a segment of the fan base that, less through any fault of Mark Shapiro’s than purely from the circumstances under which his tenure started, I think might always reflexively or delusionally twist find reasons to hate on this front office. A move for Farrell would only come off as yet another self inflicted wound from a hapless regime in their eyes. But if the only way out for the front office is to win, and they think adding him on the player development side would aid them in that pursuit, why the hell not?

I mean, he could never manage the Blue Jays again. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not so naive. But a special assistant? A player development advisor? A job where guys are somewhat transient anyway — where it’s natural that someone might leave before his contract is up to take a promotion — so the silly question of loyalty is moot? Sure. If they think he can help the club’s minor leaguers be better? Sure.

Plus, the tantrums would be absolutely fucking epic. Let it all out big boys!

  • Barry

    There are many reasons why I should not run the Blue Jays. One of them is that, if I were running the Jays, I would call Farrell, interview him for a head of player development position, make him think he was a shoo in, and then hire Mike Aviles for the job.

  • Steve-O

    I was as pissed at Squarejaw Dreamjob McFuckface as anyone when he orchestrated his exit out of Toronto to go live among the Massholes, and I won’t deny that I have been mainlining schadenfreude since he was fired.

    But… yeah, if he wants to come back – nah, let’s go with “crawl back, on broken glass, begging for work”, it feels better – I’d be perfectly fine with it. The goal, as always, is to win games, and if McFuckface can contribute ot that in a player development role, then fine with me. And hey maybe he will, if for no other reason than he has both familiarity with the regime here, and wants to stick it to the Red Sox by helping the Blue Jays.

    • mtg11

      I completely disagree. Given the history here, I see no good reason at all for him to return. There are many, many baseball people who could help the Jays and this front office. Hire any of those 1000 guys before you ever hire Farrell back.

  • drunk man walking

    Maybe someone would care to list all of the drafted players or international signings developed by Cleveland in the interval between Shapiro becoming GM and Farrell making the “not a development org” statement.

    • The Humungus

      I’d argue that player development can include players who were in A ball when acquired, simply because there’s still so much that can go wrong between there and the majors (Kevin Pillar was a MidWest League MVP because of his bat, if you recall).

      So, here’s a bunch of significant players who were in A ball or lower either when he and Farrell took over in 2001, or were acquired during their run who were at A ball or lower:

      Grady Sizemore (trade)
      Brandon Phillips (trade)
      Cliff Lee (trade)
      Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona; 2002 IFA signing)
      Jeremy Guthrie (2002 draft)
      Franklin Guttierez (2001 IFA signing)
      Tony Sipp (2004 draft, 45th round)
      Aaron Laffey (2003 draft)
      Carlos Santana (trade)
      Lonnie Chisenhall (2008 draft)
      Jason Kipnis (2009 draft)
      Hector Rondon (2005 UFA)
      Drew Pomeranz (2010 draft)
      Zach Putnam (2008 draft)
      Danny Salazar (2007 IFA signing)

      And they drafted Allen, Lindor and Naquin in the two years that Farrell was in Toronto, prior to him making the comment.

      But I mean, the Blue Jays produced Adam Lind, Aaron Hill and Russ Adams in that time.

      • drunk man walking

        Of course you could argue that, but that is not the question that I asked. Phillips, Guthrie, (you missed Scott and Kouzmanoff and Archer) all were lost from the system for nothing before they put up any value for the Indians. Guttierez came from the Dodgers. But the crucial point that I was making was that if you look from 2002 to the 2012 Indians, they had virtually no value from their own draft picks or international free agent signings. One of the most notable facets of Shapiro’s decade in charge of baseball ops in Cleveland is that the draft essentially produced no one for his teams. Of course Fausto was an exception. Things changed after Antoneti took over baseball ops.

        • The Humungus

          That’s a silly argument, especially in the case of IFAs, because they typically take a lot longer to develop due to their age at signing. Salazar can be proof of that, as he was signed in 2006 but didn’t debut in the majors until over 7 years later.

          To give Anonetti the credit for guys that were drafted is absurd, because it’s well documented that Shapiro is big on collaboration in the decision making process, in addition to the fact that he mentored Antonetti. Shapiro absolutely can be given “credit” for overseeing the system that produced guys like Allen and Lindor. Throw in that Atkins was the director of player development from 2006 (literally taking over from Fuckface) until 2013, and there’s literally no way you can discount either of their influence on the Clevelands system and the development of players within.

          • drunk man walking

            Ok it is silly, but when Farrell made that comment, I looked it up, figuring that what I would find was something like SF Giants, you know, who basically drafted and developed their entire team during that decade. Instead I found essentially nothing. Nobody interesting at all. At that time, Kipnis was really the only interesting person on the list.

          • The Humungus

            Right. But they similarly did a great job identifying players from other franchises that turned into big players for them. That Colon trade took players from four levels (MLB in Stevens, AAA – Phillips, AA – Lee, A+ – Sizemore) and turned them into building blocks for a solid playoff group.

            They identified a A level catcher and turned him into a long-term asset at first base in Santana. Corey Kluber was a AA pitcher with lots of strikeouts who was otherwise mediocre for the Padres. Michael Brantley was repeating AA when they got him.

            Lots of teams swing and miss on the draft, both player development teams and raw skill/scouting teams. But, when you are a team operating in competitive windows, rather than operating in perpetual win-mode, one of the things that let them win was picking the right guys in trade when they sold high on assets (Matt LaPorta notwithstanding)

    • drunk man walking

      Sure they did great stuff, but the point is simply that I do not get the accepted wisdom that Cleveland has the worlds greatest draft and development system. Actually they are not that good, like say, again, San Fran. In fact until recently they have been amongst the worst. They still have not been successful developing starting pitchers from scratch, unless you want to count Tomlin and Salazar as successes for a 15 year program, or really relievers outside of Allen. In 2 or 3 years both Lindor and Ramirez came from nowhere, such like Vlady and Bo are doing, only maybe faster, but beyond that not really a lot there. So is that player development or scouting.

      • The Humungus

        I don’t think people think it’s the greatest, it’s the idea that the philosophy is what’s important. Regardless of philosophy, Cleveland was hamstrung by budget for a long time. It didn’t allow them to give out draft bonuses or signing bonuses like other organizations.

        You forget that it was only 6-7 years ago that teams became limited in the bonuses they could give rule 4 draft players. Prior to that, you had some pretty insane things happening, especially in the first few rounds. Do you forget all the issue surrounding Joba and his bonus request that let the Yanks grab him late in the first round despite him being a consensus top 10 talent in his draft year? Or what Strasburg got from the Nats?

        It’s the same with IFAs as well. They just put hard caps on that this year, before teams could spend whatever ($63M on Moncada).

        You can’t necessarily judge them on that, because they were playing a different game when it came to amateur talent acquisition. That’s why their trades are the best judge of what they can do, it was the most level playing field they could get.

        The philosophy of this front office is the right one. The difference is resources, of which they now have plenty, rather than few as before.

        • drunk man walking

          reply fail again…I’ve lost my mind
          WRT the idea that they now have plenty of resources, maybe that is not as set in stone as you might think. The latest from Numeris shows that the Jays dropped off the top 30 most watched shows in the middle of September for the first time in the season since “the trades”, and on only 4 dates since the trade deadline was home game attendance up from the same game the year before. Everywhere you look interest in the Jays is down. If attendance and viewership fall back to pre trade levels, resources could quickly dry up.

          • The Humungus

            Right, but they still outdrew everyone. It’s hard to go “up” from “sellout”

            I see what you’re saying, but the interest is different now than it was pre-deadline. The number of travelling Jays fans at parks is much larger. I was at PNC in 2014 for Jays-Bucs and there were hardly any Jays fans. That’s a beautiful park only 6 hours away. The number of Jays fans when I went to Coors last June was, in a rough count on the concourse, probably 3-4 times as many as were in Pittsburgh just two years prior.

            That’s the sort of interest that doesn’t wane, it just goes dormant. It comes back when it should. Add that to the impending renovations to improve fan experience and it shouldn’t ever go back to pre-2015 deadline levels. Especially when they have some of the best looking merch in a sport full of good looking merch.

        • drunk man walking

          interesting article today in Fangraphs arguing that the reason that Cleveland lost was that they overworked their very few studs because they had no depth

    • drunk man walking

      WRT the idea that they now have plenty of resources, maybe that is not as set in stone as you might think. The latest from Numeris shows that the Jays dropped off the top 30 most watched shows in the middle of September for the first time in the season since “the trades”, and on only 4 dates since the trade deadline was home game attendance up from the same game the year before. Everywhere you look interest in the Jays is down. If attendance and viewership fall back to pre trade levels, resources could quickly dry up.

    • neocec

      Can you explain how when you saw the article name “Gammons: Farrell Could Probably Return To the Jays If He Wants”, that you define this a click bait? This title is almost word-for-word what Gammons said in his tweet, and most definitely the point Gammons was trying to make.