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Skipper search moving slowly but surely

TORONTO -- More than two weeks have passed since manager John Farrell left to sign a multiyear contract with the Red Sox, but the Blue Jays appear in no rush to name his replacement.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos is known for his due diligence and not leaving any stone unturned, but in this case, he is working against the clock. Free agency is already well under way, and the lack of a bench boss in place doesn't exactly bode well for potential negotiations.

Anthopoulos spent more than two months looking for a manager when he last performed a search, in 2010. He doesn't have the same luxury this time around, and vowed not to take as long.

It's clear, though, that he is not going to be forced into a quick fix, and he is slowly but surely gathering intel from around the league on potential candidates.

Anthopoulos could not be reached for comment on Monday, but here is the latest on those who are considered to be in the mix.

The new faces

Tim Wallach: Wallach was one of the favorites to replace Farrell, and he appears to be very much in the mix. A source indicated to that Wallach has already been contacted by the Blue Jays, and he'll likely find himself among the finalists.

The 55-year-old Wallach was expected to be in the mix two years ago, but Toronto did not receive permission to interview him. That's not the case this time, as Wallach is free to discuss the opening after having received some consideration for previous openings in Boston and Miami.

Wallach has never managed at the big league level, but he is no stranger to the position. He was in charge of Triple-A Albuquerque in 2009 and ultimately won Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors that season. He also has spent time with the Dodgers at the big league level as a hitting coach and base coach.

Matt Williams: Williams became a dark-horse candidate when the Blue Jays reached out to him last week. A source confirmed to that the two sides have already discussed the position, but as of Sunday night, a formal interview had yet to be scheduled.

The former Major League third baseman is also receiving consideration for the managerial vacancy in Colorado, and he is expected to interview for that job this week. Compounding scheduling problems is the fact that Williams has been managing the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League and doesn't have as much availability as other candidates.

Williams, who appeared in 1,866 games at the big league level, returned to baseball in 2009, when he was named Arizona's first-base coach. Two years later, he moved over to third base, and the ascension to manager is now somewhat of a natural progression.

The returning candidates

Sandy Alomar Jr.: Alomar was the runner-up to Farrell when the Blue Jays last went through a managerial search, following the 2010 season. Alomar was expected to receive a lot of consideration this time around, but a source indicated to that as of Sunday night, Toronto had yet to formally ask for permission to speak with him.

That's not entirely surprising, because the Blue Jays appear to be working through their list of candidates. Anthopoulos began the process by saying he would reach out to people who weren't considered two years ago before looping in those to whom he has already spoken.

Alomar spent last season in Cleveland as Manny Acta's bench coach. He also has three years as a first-base coach, with the Indians, under his belt and previously was considered for managerial jobs with the Red Sox and Cubs. He is the brother of Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, who is a special assistant to Blue Jays president Paul Beeston.

DeMarlo Hale: Hale also was a finalist for the job in 2010. He spent three years as Terry Francona's bench coach in Boston before joining the Orioles as their third-base coach last year.

The 51-year-old is frequently mentioned when managerial jobs open, but he has yet to receive an opportunity at the big league level. He brings with him a wealth of experience managing in the Minor Leagues, having spent nine seasons in that role, compiling a 634-614 record.

The seasoned vets

Acta: Anthopoulos didn't really consider a veteran manager during his last search, but it's possible that could change this time around. The Blue Jays are a more experienced squad than they were two years ago, and there is more pressure on the club to win now as opposed to continue building for the future.

That could generate some interest in Acta, who spent time with Anthopoulos and Dana Brow, special assistant to the GM, in the Expos/Nationals organization. Acta wasn't considered two years ago because he was under contract with the Indians, but is now free to talk to whomever he wants after being dismissed in September.

Acta spent three seasons managing in Washington and Cleveland but experienced limited success, with a 372-518 record. He is known to be a fan of sabermetrics, has some experience in player development and appears to be one of the stronger candidates among those who have already managed at the big league level.

Jim Riggleman: Riggleman became a surprise candidate when he was mentioned as a possibility in a report on late last month. Riggleman has managed four teams during his career, and he has been vocal about his desire to find another opportunity.

Last year, the 59-year-old was managing in Washington until he abruptly resigned in the middle of the season after the club declined to offer him a contract extension. He spent 2012 managing Double-A Pensacola, a Reds affiliate, and would undoubtedly have interest in the Toronto vacancy.

Jim Tracy: Tracy also has been mentioned as a possible candidate, but he would appear to be somewhat of a long shot. Tracy spent the past four seasons managing in Colorado before resigning at the end of the year following a disappointing season.

Tracy has managed for three organizations, and finished in the top four in Manager of the Year voting four times. The former outfielder led Colorado to a 64-98 record in 2012 after the year began with aspirations of the postseason.

Toronto Blue Jays