While DeMarlo Hale became the fourth candidate to interview with the club on Thursday, the Red Sox have also engaged in preliminary talks with the Blue Jays on compensation for John Farrell, a source confirmed.
It has been widely speculated for weeks -- even before Bobby Valentine was relieved of his duties on Oct. 4 -- that Farrell would be Boston's top choice to become the next manager.
The Boston Globe was first to report that the Sox have had initial compensation talks with Toronto for Farrell.
This is the second consecutive offseason that the Red Sox have made a run at Farrell, their pitching coach from 2007-10.
A year ago, the Blue Jays were firm in not wanting their manager to go to an American League East rival, even instituting a club policy that prevented employees from leaving the organization for lateral moves.
At that time, the Jays told the Red Sox the only way they would consider setting Farrell free is if Boston sent someone like right-hander Clay Buchholz, a 17-game winner in 2010, as compensation.
But Toronto might soften its stance a little now that Farrell has just one year left on his contract. Like the Red Sox, Farrell and the Blue Jays also had a somewhat tumultuous season, finishing 73-89.
Thus far, the Sox have interviewed Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach, Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Padres special assistant to the general manager Brad Ausmus and Orioles third-base coach Hale. There is familiarity with Hale, who was a member of manager Terry Francona's coaching staff from 2006-11, the last two years of which were as bench coach.
"We're impressed with the four candidates we've interviewed," general manager Ben Cherington said in an e-mail. "No other interviews scheduled. ... Will figure out next step soon."
While Boston's front office is pleased with the current quartet of interviewees, Farrell is also an intriguing candidate on a few levels.
He already has a comfortable working relationship with Cherington and assistant GM Mike Hazen. Farrell and Hazen ran the Indians' farm system together earlier last decade.
Jon Lester and Buchholz both threw no-hitters under Farrell, and had their best seasons while he was their pitching coach.
Also, handling the spotlight is another important aspect in managing the Red Sox, and Farrell is comfortable and adept at dealing with the media.