BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox are hoping that two big trades will help them get back to the playoffs after missing out three years in a row.
The first was a genuine blockbuster that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers and freed up more than $250 million in future salaries. The second was the deal that brought John Farrell back to Fenway Park on Sunday.
The Red Sox hired Farrell to be their new manager after pursuing him for more than a year, agreeing to trade infielder Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays to pry their former pitching coach out of the manager's chair in Toronto.
I'm extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox and to Boston, Farrell said in a statement released by the Red Sox. I love this organization. It's a great franchise in a special city and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to reward their faith in us.
Farrell had been the Toronto manager the past two seasons, posting a 154-170 record with two fourth-place finishes. He had one year remaining on his contract with the Blue Jays, allowing them to demand compensation from Boston.
It's the second time the Red Sox have pursued Farrell for their managerial job, closing the deal this time by working out a rare but not unprecedented trade for an active manager. Boston will give up Aviles, who hit .250 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs last season, and get right-hander David Carpenter in return.
It is the seventh time in major league history that one team has traded for a manager while he was under contract to another, the Red Sox said. Last year, the Miami Marlins obtained Ozzie Guillen from the Chicago White Sox in a deal that also included three players.
Farrell received a three-year deal in Boston, which also interviewed San Diego Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach and Baltimore Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale.
We met some outstanding managerial candidates in this process, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said in the statement. John Farrell brings a unique blend of managerial experience, leadership and presence, pitching expertise, front office experience, and an established track record with many members of our uniformed staff and members of our front office. He will hit the ground running.
The pitching coach in Boston for four years, Farrell was the heir apparent to Terry Francona before going to Toronto two seasons ago when it seemed like Francona would be sticking around long-term. When Francona was let go after an unprecedented collapse in September 2011, the Red Sox tried to pry Farrell loose from the Blue Jays.
But Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos asked for a top player in return for Farrell, who had been there only one season and gone 81-81.