Shortly after the Red Sox cut ties with Terry Francona, the team's brass approached the Blue Jays and expressed their interest in executing a deal that would bring manager John Farrell to Boston.
When Blue Jays owner Paul Beeston and general manager Alex Anthopoulos discussed the situation with Farrell, the skipper didn't hold back.
"I expressed to them at that time that yes, this is a place where I cut my teeth as a major league coach," Farrell said. "We experienced a lot of success, I have a lot of strong relationships that still exist. I was very candid and honest with them."
But the Red Sox' request was denied after Toronto implemented a regulation that barred employees from making lateral moves. Cherington characterized the conversation with Anthopoulos as short and succinct.
So the Red Sox moved on, hiring Bobby Valentine to become the 45th manager in franchise history. After a 93-loss season, however, the Red Sox fired Valentine allowing the speculation surrounding Farrell to resume.
Communication took place at the ownership level, when Red Sox president Larry Lucchino started dialogue with Beeston — a close friend — about completing a fair and ethical transaction for Farrell.
"We had plenty of conversations," Lucchino said. "You've got to understand that Beeston and I are very good friends. We can spend plenty of time talking about the war of 1812 or the American presidential campaigns and other gossip in baseball. We do that a lot.
"This time, it was certainly primarily focused on the business at hand. Paul was very strong and assertive about the interest in his team. If they were going to release someone from their contract who they thought had a high degree of importance, they needed someone of quality in return."
They also needed Farrell's approval.
Once again, Farrell reiterated his desire to manage the Red Sox in a talk with Anthopoulous. While Anthopoulous proceeded to give Farrell 10 days of radio silence — before approving his move to Boston — the skipper believes no bridges were burned.
"Alex was very candid," Farrell said. "He's a guy from Montreal and if the Expos were still in play and that opportunity opened up, it would be similar.
"He understood it, and I thanked him for that, but at the same time, when you've been in a place where you've won a World Series, developed strong relationships and trust a lot of people, those are natural drawing cards. To do it in a setting such as this in Boston with the Red Sox, this is a very rare opportunity."
One that ultimately started last offseason.