John Farrell to the Red Sox isn't a sure thing, but the process is one step closer to completion.
Major League source: Sox-Jaysbeyond "preliminary" stage of compensation talks in a deal for Toronto manager John Farrell.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) October 18, 2012
You might think the Blue Jays have all of the leverage here, but there are a few things to keep in mind that are very important to these proceedings. For one, if the Jays are responding to Boston at all, that means John Farrell is interested in the Red Sox job. Two, since Farrell is interested, and the Jays are listening, this means they don't believe he's their manager of the future. Whether it's because they don't like him, or because they think he's already all dreamy-eyed about his future as the next Boston manager, is unknown. But either way, they wouldn't even talk compensation for a manager they wanted to be in town beyond his contract.
Knowing this -- that the Jays are willing to move Farrell, a different stance from what they had a year ago -- Boston can hold firm with their price. Farrell is a free agent in a year, and the Red Sox can get another manager if he stays with the Jays. Farrell is well-respected throughout the league because he has a baseball mind that can work in multiple roles: when he's a free agent again, the Red Sox could get him for their team in a non-management role, possibly in the front office, for player development, decision-making, you name it. He can come back to where the Sox front office thinks is home, without it being as a manager, and still wield influence and power.
So, the Red Sox have a price in mind, and they aren't likely to go beyond that in order to acquire Farrell, especially not with four other interviewed candidates sitting there awaiting the result of these compensation talks. The Blue Jays now know they have a manager who wouldn't mind being somewhere else, and Farrell knows he works for a team that doesn't mind losing him. Farrell, given his versatility, can come back to Boston another way, in a year, if the two sides desire him in a non-management role.
It would be irresponsible to assume it's all roses for the Red Sox, though. The Jays also have their own price, and the two clubs could be in the midst of a staring contest, loser blinks first. As said, though, it's the Jays who lack other options if things have come this far: either move Farrell to Boston, or end up with a lame-duck manager for a year. Boston has other managerial candidates on the table, and if the Jays wait too long, only to relent, then they are going to be deep into the off-season, searching for their own manager. This should all be over quick -- Boston has walked away from Farrell negotiations once before, and there's no reason they can't do it again.