The Red Sox are about to trade for a manager - John Farrell of the Blue Jays. The Sox have reportedly been after Farrell for a year, but couldn’t put together a deal that would compensate the Jays for losing their skipper to a division rival. Farrell is their old pitching coach, which worked out so well for the Sox when they tried it with Joe Kerrigan in 2001. Kerrigan went 17-26 to close out the season, signed a multi-year contract, and then got fired in spring training. Which probably wasn’t so bad for Kerrigan and his wallet.
A year after the Kerrigan experiment, the Rays traded outfielder Randy Winn to the Mariners for the right to hire Lou Piniella. The Rays won 70 games for the first time, but that was about all they got. Meanwhile the Mariners enjoyed Winn’s prime and flipped him to the Giants, though they missed the playoffs in Bob Melvin’s first year, despite winning 93 games. Oh, those innocent days of but a single wild card team!
The Mariners cratered in 2004, losing 99 games, and they hired Mike Hargrove the next year. Who lost 93 games. What can we learn from this situation? Well, it probably isn’t a good idea to trade a good player for a manager, but it also doesn’t help to dump your manager, especially if he’s so good another team wants him. For teams on either side of an exchange like this, a player-manager swap does not lead to a lot of Winning.