Where and when will Terry Francona manage next? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the future of Terry Francona, who stepped down last week after eight seasons and two World Series titles as manager of the Boston Red Sox. Check back throughout the day for more responses and weigh in with a comment of your own.
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
Has to be the Cubs, doesn’t it?
The Cubs are bedeviled by the most hideous curse in sports, so what do they need? A manager who has d he can break such things. There are only two out there who have d then can win with organizations that haven’t in 80 years or more. The Cubs let Ozzie Guillen slip out of town and manage the Marlins. That leaves Terry Francona, the man under whom the Red Sox told the ghost of the Big Bam to scram once and for all in 2004.
Seriously, though, Francona, like most fired managers, will land in a place where he represents the opposite approach to his predecessor. The Cubs have tried the ranting of Lou Piniella and gone with a solid, longtime minor league organization man in Mike Quade. Francona would bring the gravitas of two championships, exciting the fans, and with his major league playing, coaching and managing experience, he has the ability to handle big stars in a big market and put out brush fires rather than start them.
He could work across town with the White Sox, too, or perhaps one day in New York, should abrasive Terry Collins wear out his welcome with the Mets. But the Cubs seem like a great fit.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Terry Francona is itching to jump back into a manager’s job. I don’t think it will be with the Cubs –- don’t forget Theo Epstein was at least passively involved when Francona was forced out in Boston –- or with the the Laconia Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, who have already faxed him a job offer at $6,000 a year.
My guess is that he goes to one of two teams -- the White Sox or Cardinals -- or sits out next season waiting to see what becomes available. He’d be an ideal candidate to replace Tony La Russa in St. Louis if La Russa steps away after the season. He has ties to the White Sox and might think he could get better results out of them than Ozzie Guillen did a year ago.
Final answer: He’s a broadcaster in 2012 and resurfaces in 2013.]
[Updated at 12:04 p.m.:
Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
Francona won plaudits in Boston -- until this September, anyway -- for managing a veteran team and veteran egos (Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, John Lackey) without criticizing his players publicly. When your ownership is building a global sports powerhouse, your general manager is a rock star and your players are worshiped by some of the most provincial fans in baseball, a low-key style works well.
And Boston is not the only place Francona's style should work. Remember, he was Michael Jordan's minor-league manager. Jordan loved the guy too.
It is not fair to say that Francona could not manage a young team, but why not play to the strengths he polished in Boston and bring him to a high-payroll team with expectations to win every year? The perfect landing spot for Francona would be St. Louis, if Tony La Russa returns to the Chicago White Sox this winter or retires any time soon.
Francona would have Albert Pujols' back too (assuming Pujols re-signs with the Cardinals), but in a less confrontational manner than La Russa does. And Francona, whose father played two years for the Cardinals, would fit in famously with the polite Midwestern folk.]
Photo: Terry Francona. Credit: Nick Wass / Associated Press