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 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.

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz is helping out Dave Dombrowski’s balance sheet in Boston.

The Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel trades have been awesome — beyond awesome, even. The Tyler Thornburg deal looks like a disaster that, maybe someday, Dombrowski will acknowledge rather than sidestep. The Carson Smith deal has produced, if nothing else, no gain. The Fernando Abad deal has not hurt the Sox, and he’s had some decent moments.

But the Pomeranz trade with the Padres, for just top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, stood as the most controversial of Dealer Dave’s moves until the past couple months. Now, the Cult of Travis Shaw has slowly made folks forget about Espinoza and the complicated set of circumstances that surrounded that trade.

“Rescind” is something you’re hearing less and less. 

It’s remarkable what a 2.70 ERA in a 40-inning, seven-start stretch can do. Pomeranz is looking like a lot shinier these days, particularly after Tuesday night, when he came back out despite a rain delay of more than an hour in a 9-2 win over the Twins.

From the day that 40-inning stretch began, May 25, through Tuesday, only four qualified starters posted a better ERA in the American League: Corey Kluber (1.29), Jason Vargas (2.27), Jordan Montgomery (2.52) and Mike Pelfrey (2.64).

For comparison: Chris Sale is 10th in that stretch, at 3.54. Rick Porcello has 6.08 ERA in the same time.

Realistically, where the Sox stood last season, they needed Pomeranz. He was healthy enough to throw. That’s the reality everyone who wanted the deal undone always undersold: the back of the rotation was crumbling. 

But that was just one layer of the deal.

The Padres did not provide as much medical information as they should have, and the Sox stuck with Pomeranz despite the opportunity to look elsewhere.

Espinoza hasn’t pitched for a Padres minor league affiliate yet this season. He’s playing catch from flat ground as he comes back from a forearm injury, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported recently. 

Trades, to this observer, are typically best evaluated by reviewing the process behind them — which is to say, by looking back at the information was available at the time the deal was made. And at the time, it was known that the Sox were paying for Pomeranz beyond just last season's second half. They were paying for a controllable arm who could help out the rotation this year too.

Dombrowski may well have acquired Pomeranz at his peak value, which is unsurprising. But what mattered most was whether the team believed Pomeranz could contribute effectively beyond 2016. That, once they had all the health information, whether they properly evaluated what it would mean for his future.

It looked bad when Pomeranz started the season on the disabled list. He had a stem-cell injection in his forearm in the winter, too. There wasn’t much to hang your hat on at the start of April. 

Realistically, Pomeranz probably isn’t 100 percent right now. Even within the relative world of pro baseball — where no one is ever 100 percent — Pomeranz is probably further from it than most. 

But he's powered through. Pomeranz’s attitude might actually fit Boston better than most realize. He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

How Pomeranz holds up is to be seen. But the team’s judgment that he would have value beyond last season, a value worth surrendering Espinoza for, is looking better and better.

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona missed Tuesday night's game against Texas after his second trip to the hospital this month.

The Indians said doctors for now have ruled out major health issues and Francona will be monitored the next several weeks.

Francona, 58, left Monday night's game because he wasn't feeling well. He spent several hours at Cleveland Clinic and underwent a series of tests.

Francona was released from the hospital on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day at home. He was expected to return to the dugout Wednesday when the Indians host the Rangers. Cleveland lost to Texas 2-1 on Tuesday.

Bench coach Brad Mills ran the team in Francona's absence. Cleveland began the day in first place in the AL Central after rallying for a 15-9 win Monday.

"Tito actually wanted to come back to the ballpark today," team president Chris Antonetti said Tuesday. "I told him he can't come back to the ballpark today. He only got a couple hours of sleep last night, so despite his desire to want to be here, I thought it was best that he gets some rest tonight and just come back tomorrow. His plan when he was getting released from the hospital was to come over here."

"I don't think he was exceedingly happy with me," Antonetti said with a laugh. "That's OK."

Francona was hospitalized June 13 following a game at Progressive Field. He underwent tests and was released a few hours later, returning to work the following night. Last August, he missed a game after experiencing chest pains but was back the next day.

"Thankfully, we've got some great doctors that are coordinating his care," Antonetti said. "They've done every test they can possibly imagine. They've all come back clean. They're now working to try to figure out what are some of those things that are causing him to not feel so well."

Francona, a close friend of Mills for several years, has retained his sense of humor through his health issues.

A statement released by the team Tuesday read, "Mr. Francona also wanted to express that medical personnel have not yet ruled out an allergy to Bench Coach Brad Mills."