ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Red Sox and other MLB news.
Olney noted that at least some of the executives involved in the Red Sox' managerial search took some family time over the holiday weekend, and now they're returning their focus to trying to land John Farrell from the Blue Jays.
"I think when they got back after the holiday on Tuesday, I think a lot of the people involved went back to work," Olney said. "I would not at all be surprised if we hear something in the next 24-48 hours. Because let's face it: It's a pretty clear situation. If Toronto really values John Farrell, if they don't want to lose him and he's someone that they want to try to build around going forward, they're going to say no. If they have even lukewarm feelings about him, then they should aggressively move to make something happen. Because they know he's probably going to walk away at the end of next year anyway."
Added Olney: "There's been a lot of speculation about John's relationship with the Blue Jays, how the Blue Jays feel about him. It all depends on whether or not [owner] Paul Beeston will allow a Blue Jay employee to go to a division rival, and whether or not he sees as important John Farrell as part of the Blue Jays' future. If he's OK with John leaving, I think it's one of those things that can get done very quickly. If he hems and he haws and he fights and he claws and tries to convince John, I think the Red Sox will be prepared to move on. I do know that they have been in the process of preparing other candidates as well."
Olney said he does not expect that the Red Sox will spend a lot of time trying to negotiate with the Jays if Toronto takes a hard-line stance.
"I think if you're the Red Sox you just move on," Olney said. "Because I think there's motivation on the Blue Jays' side. If they don't want John Farrell, if they don't really view him as part of the future, wouldn't you want to just get this over with and get your new manager in there, whether it's Torey Lovullo or Sandy Alomar Jr. or somebody else? Because I think through this whole process, it's become fairly apparent that John Farrell is probably not going to be their manager past 2013 no matter what happens. You might as well get something in return. And I can't imagine that the Blue Jays and the Red Sox can't find some middle ground if the Blue Jays say, 'OK, we're ready to talk.' Now, I say that, and we're all going to look back on the Theo Epstein negotiation, which only lasted what seemed like about 45 years."
Former major league catcher and current Padres executive Brad Ausmus, a Connecticut native who attended Dartmouth College, is a name that has surfaced as a potential candidate if Farrell doesn't work out.
"He is sort of a new model of managers -- the understated Robin Ventura, Mike Matheny. That's Brad," Olney said. "Brad's one of those personalties where you could have a fight on the field, total chaos, teammates throwing punches at each other in the dugout, and Brad will be the guy whose voice tone never changes, never rises. His heartbeat probably stays at 65. He's always been really good dealing with the media. He never overreacts. And he certainly knows pitching. To me, that's one of the big questions about any manager, is dealing with the pitching staff, running a bullpen. He's going to have a leg up on those things. I think he's an excellent candidate.
"The question for the Red Sox I'm sure is: Do you want to have a first-time manager breaking in in Boston. I think the fact that Brad's a native New Englander, he knows the intensity, the velocity of the passion of baseball fans up there, is a huge thing. If they hired him, it wouldn't surprise me -- if John Farrell doesn't take the job -- because I think he would be an excellent candidate."
Bobby Valentine has been quiet since his dismissal as Red Sox manager. Olney said it's clear that there was an agreement that both sides would avoid criticizing each other publicly.
"Yes, and I talked to some officials who say that that's standard operating procedure with the Red Sox and standard operating procedure with other teams," Olney said.
Terry Francona was named manager of the Indians, a move that caught Olney by surprise.
Said Olney: "People around baseball are absolutely stunned that he took this job because of the issues with the rotation, the questions as to the viability of baseball in Cleveland going forward and their short-term prospects, and they think that there probably would have been better jobs out there in other places. But here's the thing: Terry I think really wants to work with people that he knows and gets along with."
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