With "preliminary stages" having concluded, it's looking like the decision on John Farrell could come any day now.
Still, as close as we may be to the end of this saga, we've got no real idea what the situation is. Are the Sox and Jays close? Are they far apart? Do the Jays even want to keep Farrell? And perhaps most important: how much do the Jays want, and how much are the Red Sox willing to give up to get him?
Generally, the opinion of the fanbase (at least around these parts) seems to be that anything really significant would be an overpay. But what is and is not significant varies from person to person. As a result, we're still left without much of an idea as to what the perceived value of John Farrell is.
In the past, managers have required some scary returns, but every single time it's been for an experienced manager with a reputation behind them, not someone like Farrell who has just two bad years behind him and might be on the outs in Toronto already. No, the Sox aren't going to offer up a solid major leaguer like Randy Winn, but might they surrender some high-ranking prospects like Florida did to get Ozzie Guillen? What is too much?
I think we can start with some broad slashes here. Any contributing member of the major league roster (few though there may be) would be too much, as would any of the Three B's. If Bradley, Barnes, or Bogaerts were to be part of the compensation, we would pretty much be obligated to boycott the team until the entire front office got the boot, assuming there was no return beyond Farrell.
After that things get a little foggier, though.
For myself, the line is drawn a fair ways down after that. Beneath not only the likes of Garin Cecchini, Bryce Brentz, and the pitchers picked up in the Dodgers megadeal, but also below many of the other prospects whether interesting low-level lottery tickets or high-level pitchers who could be ready to provide depth at the major league level in 2013 (Chris Hernandez, Alex Wilson).
Where, though, do you draw the line? Is it better to surrender a fringe guy in the upper levels like Hernandez, or a guy miles from the majors but with intriguing tools like Frank Montas? How much are the struggling rookie types in Ryan Lavarnway or Ryan Kalish worth? Is Daniel Bard broken enough to be on the table? Too broken?
Make an offer, readers of OTM. What price point for John Farrell would, if not make you feel the Red Sox won the deal, at least not set your teeth on edge for losing it too badly?