BOSTON – The Red Sox are preparing to announce that John Farrell will be their new manager, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the deal to bring the former Boston pitching coach back one year after the ballclub first tried to give him the top job.
The announcement was delayed by the unusual logistics of hiring a manager under contract with another team, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the final procedural steps had not been cleared. But the three-year deal to replace Bobby Valentine could be announced as soon as Sunday, the official said.
Red Sox spokeswoman Pam Kenn said the team had no announcement to make. Blue Jays spokesman Jay Stenhouse did not immediately respond to a voice mail seeking comment.
Comcast SportsNet New England was first to report the deal.
Farrell had one year remaining on his contract with Toronto, where he went 154-170 over the past two seasons. The Red Sox have agreed to send the Blue Jays compensation for letting Farrell leave for their AL East rivals.
Farrell was the Red Sox pitching coach for four seasons before Toronto hired him as manager two years ago. He was Boston's top target when Terry Francona was let go after the team's September collapse in 2011, but the Blue Jays would not allow him to leave.
But the Red Sox found themselves looking for a manager again just one season later, after Valentine led the team to a last-place finish and a 69-93 record that was the franchise's worst since 1965. And, after Toronto went 73-89 in 2012, the Blue Jays were willing to part with Farrell.
The Red Sox also interviewed San Diego Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach and Baltimore Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale.
Farrell is familiar with Red Sox management from his time in Boston and has worked with many of the club's pitchers, including starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.
Even before the announcement, news of the deal trickled out over Twitter, where Blue Jays reliever Casey Janssen wrote: "Want to wish our skipper the best in Boston, good luck!"
The 50-year-old Farrell had a promising pitching career with the Cleveland Indians before an injury kept him out for the entire 1991 and '92 seasons. He returned to pitch sparingly in four more seasons, finishing his career with a 36-46 record and a 4.56 ERA.
He coached at Oklahoma State, where he pitched in college, from 1997-2001 and then spent five years in the Indians' front office before Francona, a former Cleveland teammate, brought him to Boston as pitching coach. Farrell had been Francona's heir apparent but took the Toronto job when it appeared Francona, a two-time World Series champion in Boston, would remain indefinitely.
However, the team parted ways with Francona after its unprecedented collapse in September 2011, when it went 7-20 over the final month to miss a playoff appearance by one game. In response to overtures from the Red Sox, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos created a policy prohibiting employees from moving laterally to another organization.
But Farrell, who led Toronto to an 81-81 record and fourth-place finish in his first year, fell to 16 games below .500 in his second. Veteran infielder Omar Vizquel complained that Farrell didn't do enough to help younger players correct their mistakes.
Farrell called a closed-door meeting, and Vizquel apologized.