By C. Trent Rosecrans
How much is a manager worth?
If you're the Marlins, it's worth two minor-leaguers in exchange for Ozzie Guillen, a manager with a .524 winning percentage over eight years and a World Series title.
If you're the Blue Jays, you seem to think your manager with one year of experience and a .500 record is worth a 27-year old starter with an All-Star appearance under his belt. The Boston Red Sox, apparently, don't agree.
While some may get up in arms about this trade possibility (or, really, non-possibility when you think about it), it makes sense from both sides. It's part of doing business -- the Red Sox needed a new manager after getting rid of Terry Francona, and in Farrell, there was a known commodity inside the organization (Farrell had been the Red Sox pitching coach) with major-league managing experience. He was a perfect fit. Except, you know, for that part about him already having a job and being under contract for the next two years.
That's where the Blue Jays had leverage -- if the Red Sox wanted Farrell, they could have him for a price. Asking for Buchholz is probably as close to saying "no" as you can without saying that word -- the Blue Jays didn't want to give up their manager that they like just fine, so the price was high. If they had to get a new manager, that manager would love to have Buchholz in the rotation, that's for sure.
While the Blue Jays seem to think their manager is worth quite a bit, the market tells us differently. So far this offseason, there's been a run this off-season on first-year managers. The Cubs, White Sox and Cardinals -- three marquee openings -- went to first-time managers, the White Sox hiring a guy who has never managed at any level. The market, it seems is saying experienced managers are not worth the money they command. If you have a Tony La Russa, it's fine to pay him a lot. But if you don't, go out and storm the Wal-Mart for your next manager and get him at a discount.
Trades for a manager are rare -- as the Guillen trade was the first since the Rays sent Randy Winn and a minor-leaguer to Seattle for Lou Piniella in 2002. That one didn't pay immediate dividends, but there are at least two trades for managers that did seem to be worth the price. The Mets sent right-hander Bill Denehy to the Senators for manager Gil Hodges after the 1967 season and the Mets went on to win the 1969 World Series. The Pirates got their own World Series-winning manager in a trade, sending veteran catcher Manny Sanguillen to the A's for Chuck Tanner following the 1976 season. Tanner led the Pirates to the 1979 World Series title (with Sanguillen, who was traded back to the Pirates after the 1977 season).
It's hardly out of the question for Guillen -- or Farrell -- to lead their team to the World Series, but it's more likely Buchholz will contribute more value than any manager, so the Blue Jays were right to ask for Buchholz and the Red Sox were right to say no.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.