John Farrell still has another year on his contract with the Blue Jays (Reuters)John Farrell has been down this road before. About a year ago, after Terry Francona managed the Boston Red Sox to a disastrous season-ending collapse and was fired, speculation of possible replacements began. Farrell's name was pegged near the top of the list.
He spent four years working under Francona between 2006-2010 as Boston's pitching coach, but in the 2010 off-season he had signed a three-year deal to manage the Toronto Blue Jays.
And though rumours still surfaced of Farrell's potential return to Boston, the Jays front office actually amended its team policy to prevent lateral moves, thus crushing any further speculation.
But with Toronto in Boston this weekend and Bobby Valentine already having been dismissed in the minds of many in the media, the Farrell to Boston story has been brought back to life.
Friday afternoon, with the media -- a much larger crowd than he's used to in Toronto -- gathered around him, Farrell addressed the "return to the Red Sox" storyline and spoke of his commitment to the Jays.
"I don't look at other situations because my focus is here. We've got a lot of challenges ourselves with getting guys back on the field. So I can tell you this. Knowing what the Red Sox have gone through, the amount of players that they've lost to injury, I can empathize with Bobby.
"As I said last week in Toronto, I'm the manager of the Blue Jays. I can understand the natural connection because I've worked here in the past, but my focus is clearly with the Blue Jays."
With another year left on his deal with the Jays and the Boston media calling for him, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star calls it a no-lose situation for Farrell.
"He does not need an extension to be happy. He has no real ties to Boston, but the city and the media like him. The Jays could decide that they would rather negotiate a trade with Boston, at least find out what they could get for their manager and go from there. Farrell's not the best manager the Jays have had and he's not the worst. In either case, nothing will be done as long as Valentine is in the other dugout. And for once, Farrell's "no-comment" will be seen as the right thing to say as Red Sox Nation waits for the axe to fall on what will be a Valentine day massacre."
Where Farrell's future lies after his contract expires following the 2013 season remains a question. Alex Anthopoulos has refused to comment on whether or not an extension for the 50-year-old skipper has been discussed. Also, it's hard to assume whether or not the Jays would have interest in extending him beyond 2013 based on the results of his first two years in Toronto.
Perhaps how he leads a healthy lineup into the 2013 season following a year derailed by injuries will prove to be the deciding factor in determining Farrell's future with the Blue Jays, or elsewhere.