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Blue Jays search for leader to replace Farrell

TORONTO -- With the saga surrounding John Farrell finally a thing of the past, the Blue Jays are set to move forward in their search for his replacement.

Toronto is now on the hunt for the 16th manager in franchise history and third in the past four years. It's a situation the club did not expect to find itself in, but one that became inevitable when Farrell expressed his desire to join the Red Sox just a couple of short weeks ago.

The search didn't officially begin until Farrell reached a multiyear deal with Boston on Sunday but is aided by the fact the Blue Jays went through a similar situation in 2010.

"We've put closure to the whole thing, we move forward to finding a new manager," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said during a conference call on Sunday. "I expect it to be a significantly faster process than the last time.

"I think having gone through it once and having gone through the experience, I can cut out a lot of steps and hopefully we'll be able to move fast. I don't want to set a timeline; obviously [we're] trying to make sure that we get it done, but obviously I'd love to move as fast as we can so we can move forward with our offseason."

Anthopoulos should almost immediately be able to narrow the field to a short list of candidates. Cleveland bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and Baltimore third-base coach DeMarlo Hale both received a lot of consideration prior to the hiring of Farrell two years ago, and likely will be in the mix once again. As of Monday late afternoon, Alomar Jr. had not yet been contacted by the Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have already done extensive background checks on both individuals and have a strong idea of what each would bring to the table. That should help move the process along, but it doesn't mean Anthopoulos won't be reaching out to other individuals as well.

Anthopoulos wanted to interview Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach for the vacancy back in 2010, but did not receive permission from Los Angeles. At the time, it was believed Wallach wasn't interested in the Blue Jays job, because he had aspirations of taking over for Joe Torre.

The Dodgers job ultimately went to Don Mattingly, and Wallach still finds himself looking for another opportunity. Wallach recently interviewed for the Boston job, which ultimately went to Farrell following weeks of speculation.

Manny Acta also could find himself in the mix after being dismissed by the Indians following a disappointing 2012 campaign. Acta and Anthopoulos previously crossed paths 10 years ago when they were both employees of the Expos.

Regardless of who ends up with the job, it's clear that the search will be relatively brief but will be expanded to include candidates who didn't make the final round against Farrell.

"As I'm starting to run through it in my mind a little bit here, there were some people that I just didn't get a chance to speak to last time," Anthopoulos said. "Whether it was not being granted permission by those clubs, timing or maybe they weren't available and they're available now.

"There's not too many; it's a very, very small group, but there were just a few I didn't get to speak to, either because I was denied by a club or they were employed in a role they couldn't get out of that I would definitely look to speak to at least."

The early speculation is that Alomar Jr. is one of the clear-cut front runners for the job. It's a natural fit, considering he went so far into the process last time and his Hall of Fame brother, Roberto, currently works for the organization as a special assistant to president Paul Beeston.

Alomar Jr. briefly took over the job in Cleveland following the departure of Acta. But the position was then handed over to Terry Francona, while Alomar Jr. eventually decided to re-sign with the Indians as a member of his staff.

Even though Alomar Jr. seems like a potentially ideal candidate, Anthopoulos said all of that talk is premature. The process hasn't evolved to the point where someone could have a serious advantage over anyone else. There are still plenty of discussions to be had, even if there's not a whole lot of time for them to take place.

"I think having gone through it once, with the experiences and with where the team is at, I think we can be a little more specific," Anthopoulos said. "It's probably like when you buy your first house, you go in, look for certain things.

"After you live in a house for a certain time, the next time there is one I know I want to have 'X' or 'X' or 'X,' and I think that's probably the position we're going to be in. I can be a little more specific and know exactly what's going to be the fit for us here."

Another ramification from Farrell's decision to leave for Boston is that the coaching staff remains unsigned. The group of Brian Butterfield, Dewayne Murphy, Don Wakamatsu, Bruce Walton, Torey Lovullo and Luis Rivera saw their contracts expire at the end of the year, and will now have to wait and see what the future brings.

There's a strong possibility that Farrell will attempt to take at least one or two coaches with him. There are already rumors that Butterfield could be interested in a job with Boston, while Lovullo could also be on his way out.

The Blue Jays haven't ruled out bringing back anybody but that's a decision that ultimately will have to be made by the new manager.

"I've talked to all of them, and really what I told them is right now, with not knowing who the manager is going to be, everyone is free to talk to any team that they want to," Anthopoulos said. "We can't hold anybody back. We're obviously moving as fast as we can to fill this spot, but at the same time we're not going to hold any of them back.

"There's a very real scenario where some of them are back on the staff, but until a manager is hired, we can't really hold them up. They all have permission to speak with any clubs that do call."

Toronto Blue Jays