Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell is on the verge of becoming the next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, according to NESN's Peter Gammons, who heard from three general managers that the hiring is imminent.
The Blue Jays have not confirmed the decision.
The 48-year-old Farrell would take over for Cito Gaston, a legend in Toronto who stepped down after the 2010 season.
The hiring would make plenty of sense to the Jays, who have a host of quality young arms that can be groomed under Farrell, the Sox’ pitching coach since 2007. Led by 25-year-old Ricky Romero (14-9, 3.73 ERA) and 28-year-old Shaun Marcum (13-8, 3.64 ERA), Toronto had every one of its 162 starts made by a pitcher 29 or younger.
The group of youngsters combined to go 63-51 in the ultra-competitive American League East and ranked third in the AL in strikeouts. Kyle Drabek, acquired in the Roy Halladay trade last offseason, is the potential ace in waiting.
Farrell’s supposed departure would create a major void on manager Terry Francona's staff, which continues to undergo changes. The skipper lost bench coach Brad Mills to a managerial job in Houston before last season. That role was filled in 2010 by DeMarlo Hale, who was also a candidate for the Toronto job.
A pitcher with three teams in an eight-year major league career, Farrell was the Cleveland Indians' director of player development for five years, helping the Indians earn "Organization of the Year" honors in 2003 and 2004.
In his first season in Boston, he helped the pitching staff post a 3.87 ERA, tops in the AL, as the Red Sox won their second World Series in a span of four seasons. Boston's team ERA ranked fourth in the AL in 2008, seventh in 2009 and ninth in 2010.
Farrell once turned down an invitation from the Pittsburgh Pirates to interview for their manager. He is routinely a popular name when openings exist around the majors and Francona has said it would be a matter of time before his pitching coach moves on.