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Indians hire Terry Francona

Indians hire Terry Francona
October 6, 2012
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The Cleveland Indians have hired former Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona to be their next manager. Neither the Cleveland Indians nor Terry Francona have confirmed this move, but there is a posting on the Cleveland Indians website.

The search for a new major league manager was a short one for the Tribe after they fired Manny Acta on September 27th, with six games remaining in the season.

Francona interviewed with the Indians on Friday, two days after the season ended, and a day after the Indians had interviewed interim manager and former Tribe catcher Sandy Alomar on Thursday. They were the only two candidates considered for the job.

Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti was clearly swinging for the fences when he called Francona the night that Manny Acta was fired to gauge his interest in the job. Francona, one of the most respected baseball minds in the game, was widely regarded as the #1 target for many teams looking for a new manager for 2013.

Francona had worked closely with Chris Antonetti in 2001, when then General Manager and current Tribe president, Mark Shapiro hired Francona as his special assistant. Even so, it was doubtful that the Indians would be able to hire a manager of the caliber of Francona based on potential salary demands, as well as the likely options that Francona would have going forward.

Francona seemed genuinely interested in the Indians’ job as the season drew to a close, and it became clear that it was more than just a meeting between friends.

Francona was in Cleveland all day Friday meeting with the Tribe brass, and all parties involved had nothing but rave reviews about the meeting. Shapiro, Antonetti and Francona described the meeting as a “family” atmosphere, and Francona perhaps even slipped when he said, “Because of my relationship with Mark and Chris, I'm excited about attempting to tackle each and every challenge that comes our way and to do it together.”

In my piece earlier this afternoon, I felt that Francona already believed it was a done deal. I was clearly right.

Francona had a fairly non-descript playing career, and while his most noted playing days were with the Montreal Expos, he played a season with the Indians in 1988. After his playing days were over, Francona immediately began his climb towards being a major league manager. That culminated in 1997, when he was named manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. He was fired after the 2000 season, and was hired as the special assistant to the GM for the Indians in 2001. He took the job as the bench coach for the Texas Rangers in 2002, and then took the same job with the Oakland Athletics in 2003, before landing the job as manager of the Red Sox in 2004.

In his first year with the Sox, he led them to their first World Series title since 1918, and did it in grand fashion. The Red Sox were down to the Yankees 3-0 in the ALCS, before storming back and winning four straight. They would then sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in four games.

In 2007, Francona’s Red Sox would run into the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, and fall behind the Tribe 3-1. Like 2004, the Red Sox would win three straight to defeat the Indians, and go on to sweep the Colorado Rockies for their second title in four seasons.

In 2011, the Red Sox went 7-20 over the final month of the season, and blew a nine game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays to miss out on the AL Wild Card. Francona was quickly fired, beginning his career with ESPN.

I wonder if Boston would take it all back now?

It’s unknown what’s going to happen with regards to Sandy Alomar Jr. The Indians clearly want him to remain a part of the team going forward, but it’s equally likely that Alomar Jr. will want to move to another organization. It’s also possible that Francona will want to bring in his own coaching staff which would include former bench coach Brad Mills.

The Indians plan to officially announce the move on Monday, which fits into the timeline initially put forth, right here at IPI way back on Wednesday.

Tune into IPI with more on the developing story as it happens…

…and welcome to the Tribe, Mr. Francona.

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at

User Comments

October 7, 2012 - 12:43 AM EDT
Edward Mujica, Coco Crisp, Ryan Ludwick, Brandon Phillips, Jake Westbrook, CC Sabathia, Johnny Peralta, Jim Thome.
All played on playoff teams this year; all were once property of the Indians and could have been retained with enough foresight and enough money.
Then again, Encarnacion, Josh Hamilton, and Adam Dunn all hit over 40 HR's this season, and the Reds let all three walk away.
The Reds still won their division.
The Indians haven't made as many bad decisions as some think, over the years, but they have had an incredible run of bad luck with injuries beyond what anyone could imagine.
Adam Miller, Rondon, Carrasco, Carmona-Hernandez, Scott Barnes, & Jason Knapp should be competing with Masterson and Jiminez for spots in the rotation next year.
Miller is gone, Knapp is done, Barnes & Rondon may never again start, Carmona-Hernandez has destroyed his career with the Indians, and Carrasco is a question mark.
With that rotation, and the current bullpen, the Indians would have contended this year.
Every team has injuries, but not in this quantity, and only the richest teams could compensate for this ill fortune.
October 6, 2012 - 11:39 PM EDT
While its still unknown how long and how much his contract is worth it has to be a pretty significant chunk of change. If the Indians are willing to spend money here I hope they also decide to spend money on players, and I don't mean Casey Kotchman.

I'd like to see the Indians go hard after Shaun Marcum, and take a high upside guy for a relatively cheap price like Rich Harden. I think Angel Pagan could be a decent guy for the OF.

October 6, 2012 - 11:01 PM EDT
I agree...but you take what you can get.

If this turns into a fundamental change...I'm all for it...

but if you read my article from earlier today...I agree...I doubt this addresses the real issue...but we'll see.

It will be interesting to see what happens when Francona wants something, and Antonetti sees it differently. It could turn into a bit of a tug-of-war...that ultimately, Francona will win...
Matt underwood
October 6, 2012 - 10:29 PM EDT
This still doesn't fix the main issue... People making decisions

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