Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who was the only skipper to win two World Series in the first decade of the 21st century, will manage again next season. Fancona skippered the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox to World Series Championships and had 755 wins and 552 losses (.574) with Boston. In eight years as the Red Sox manager, Francona always had a winning record and six times the team won 90 or more games. Five of those eight seasons the Red Sox made the playoffs.
If you’re a Red Sox fan don’t get excited about Francona coming back to Boston. Right now he’s one of two managers on the final list for manager of the Cleveland Indians. If the Indians don’t offer him a job, then chances are some other team will ask him to be their manager.
Although Boston fired Francona after last season due to perceptions regarding his ability to maintain discipline and his inability to get the Red Sox into the playoffs for a second straight year, he is still considered to be one of the top managers who is currently unemployed by MLB.
Players tend to like him, as he allows them to relax and be themselves while offering a high standard for performance. Overall, he’s a solid tactician with a good sense of the game and what needs to be done at any given time. Francona is seen as being a diplomatic manager and someone who can go with the flow as he deals with a game’s changing energies.
There will be a certain irony if Francona is brought in to rebuild the Cleveland Indians and Bobby Valentine is fired by the Red Sox. Valentine, who was brought in to turn things around in Boston, is now skipper of a Red Sox team that is guaranteed a losing record and is due to set the worst mark of any Red Sox team since 1960. Francona never came close to putting up the dismal numbers that Valentine has and unlike his replacement, Tito was both a fan and player favorite.
After being fired by the Red Sox, Francona worked some of the MLB playoffs for Fox Sports and this season he has been a commentator for ESPN. Over the years, the laidback Francona has proven to be a diplomat when dealing with controversial situations and a fine ambassador for the game.
The Indians should make the decision regarding Francona shortly. Whatever the case may be, I expect in 2013 that some team will benefit from his insights and style.