John Farrell, Ben Cherington Defend Themselves From Toronto’s Vitriol Over Hiring

John Farrell, Ben Cherington Defend Themselves From Toronto's Vitriol Over HiringBOSTON – John Farrell's sudden departure from the Blue Jays is causing quite the stir in Toronto.

Since Farrell conveyed his interest in returning to the Red Sox — last offseason and this offseason — he has been portrayed as using the Blue Jays job as a stepping stone, rather than investing in the franchise's long-term goals.

When the Blue Jays acquired Farrell in exchange for shortstop Mike Aviles, one year was remaining on the skipper's contract with Toronto. During Tuesday's introduction, Farrell defended his commitment to the Blue Jays' organization.

"The reaction to the anger or the feelings that might emanate from this happening, I appreciate that," Farrell said. "That means there's passion and there's caring from the fan base. I would take exception to the thought that there was no intent to fulfill a contract."

There were also accusations — stemming from Toronto — that Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington tampered and had a yearlong flirtation with Farrell while Bobby Valentine was at the helm.

Cherington vehemently denied the allegations, claiming that he hadn't spoken with Farrell until the Blue Jays gave him approval. The general manager also reiterated that he fully supported Valentine during the 2012 season.

"There was never any tampering this year or last year," Cherington said. "That just didn't happen. There was understandable speculation because of the history — not just with John as our pitching coach, but the relationships here. So [it's] understandable where the speculation came from.

"[We] appreciate Toronto's concern because, as I said, they're trying to do what we're doing and trying to get better, too. If I was in Paul [Beeston] or Alex [Anthopoulos'] shoes, it's not something you want to have to go through. But I can say definitively that wherever that speculation was coming from, it wasn't coming from me."

Either way, the vitriol from Toronto isn't heading anywhere, anytime soon.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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