Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos conducted more than 20 interviews and considered countless others for the job of Blue Jays manager. Now he's in the final hours of making his decision and it appears it's coming down to Red Sox coaches Demarlo Hale and John Farrell.
You can see where this one could be tough.
Farrell could be a Bud Black-type, pitching coach turned manager, who has certainly disspelled the myth that pitching coaches don't make good managers. Farrell has never managed.
Then you have Hale, who took the traditional route to this point in his career. He was a minor league manager who was once on a very fast rise when he was in the Red Sox organization, but his stock almost froze as he went off to coach the Texas Rangers and then the Red Sox. Under Francona his stock has risen again as teams see the impact of a coach coming through the Francona tree. Brad Mills had a successful first year in Houston, where he helped the Astros transition into a rebuilding program after they traded off Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt.
Until yesterday it seemed Sandy Alomar Jr., who had three interviews, was very much in the mix. The Jays also have an outstanding candidate in Brian Butterfield, who is a favorite of many of the players on the team.
Obviously, who ever goes, means Francona will have to hire a coach.
If Farrell is hired, Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo, with ties to Farrell from the Indians system, would have a chance to be on Farrell's staff. If Hale goes, Lovullo could also be considered a possible coach on Francona's staff. Another experienced coach with ties to Francona is Ken Macha, recently dismissed as the Milwaukee manager.