Red Sox set for manager search

The Boston Red Sox plan to begin their search for a new manager on Friday, which is when CEO Larry Lucchino is expected to return to Boston after a trip to Europe, according to a baseball source.

The source did not identify any specific candidates. There have been no indications the Red Sox have contacted the Toronto Blue Jays for permission to speak with manager John Farrell, who a team source told ESPNBoston.com was "at the top of the list" of candidates.

The Red Sox made overtures to the Blue Jays about Farrell last year after Terry Francona was ousted. But the Blue Jays denied permission and ultimately changed their internal rules for taking a job with another team, saying they would allow movement only in the event of a promotion.

There is still some uncertainty whether the Blue Jays would allow Farrell to go to an AL East rival. But with just one year left on his original three-year deal and Toronto coming off an 89-loss season, the Red Sox are hopeful the Blue Jays might relax their policy.

The Red Sox are prepared for the likelihood that hiring Farrell would require compensation in the form of a player, a process they experienced from the other side last year when, after lengthy negotiations, they acquired relief pitcher Chris Carpenter from the Chicago Cubs as compensation for losing general manager Theo Epstein.

The Red Sox fired manager Bobby Valentine after the team's worst finish (69-93) in more than four decades.