It has already been an interesting off-season for the Toronto Blue Jays, as they have hired a new manager and some intriguing rumors have emerged.

John Farrell, the former pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox, was hired to replace the outgoing Cito Gaston.  Farrell doesn’t have any experience managing at the big league level, but his diverse expertise gave him the edge in landing the job with the Blue Jays.  

He is a former big league pitcher who became a director of player development with Cleveland, turning their farm system into the best in the league at the time.  From there, he moved to the Boston Red Sox to oversee their pitching, motivated by his burning need to compete.

Farrell will retain both third base coach Brian Butterfield and pitching coach Bruce Walton, decisions that seem to have been influenced by Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.  It appeared that the Jays wanted to maintain some consistency, especially in their strong area of pitching.

In regards to their pitching, it appears that Anthopoulos highly valued the experience that Jose Molina brought behind the plate and has picked up the $1.2 million option on the veteran catcher.

How this affects their catching situation remains to be seen.  There is a chance they might sign John Buck to a 1 or 2 year deal, to provide extra support in case J.P. Arencibia isn’t quite ready to take over.  This would allow Arencibia to grab the starts where he could, whether it be catching, designated hitter or perhaps even first base. This is Buck’s decision, however, as he has stated that he wants to be an everyday player.

They could also have Molina act as a mentor to help transition Arencibia into a full-time role over the course of the season.  The Jays have alluded to 2012 as the season in which they feel like they could make a run to the playoffs. That would make next year a learning experience for Arencibia to get to know the pitchers on the Jays staff, as well as a chance to become more comfortable at the plate.

Finally, in a much talked about statement, Manny Ramirez suggested that he would be interested in playing for John Farrell.  Ramirez got to know Farrell when he was playing in Boston and it would appear that the pitching coach won the respect of the slugger.  

Disregarding whether Anthopoulos is interested in Ramirez or not, would he be good for the Blue Jays?  Ramirez has never been strong in the outfield and is approaching forty years old. He certainly isn’t getting better.  That would suggest he would be a permanent designated hitter with the Blue Jays, which would greatly reduce their options.

If Ramirez is the everyday DH, that means that Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion have to be in the field.  While that might not be the worst option, it means the defense on the infield corners is suspect.  

This is of course is not even taking into account how Ramirez might affect the strong camaraderie that has been built in the clubhouse.  One of the strong points in the Jays this past season was their work ethic and their never-say-die attitude.  Would Ramirez’s presence disrupt that positive state of mind?

What Ramirez would bring to the team in terms of production, would seem to be outweighed by the negative aspects of his game.  Not to mention, he is not exactly the small-ball type player that Farrell would like to add to this team.

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