Terry Francona is an excellent manager in Major League Baseball who has shown that he can manage in the most challenging environment and win. He led the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 90 years, in an environment of extraordinary fan pressure and a place where the media acts like chips at a barbecue. There is no doubt that he is good at his job. With the Red Sox making a very poor decision in letting him go, some other team will have the benefit of getting Francona’s services.
Will Terry end up with the Chicago White Sox? That is a possibility. The White Sox have been reasonably good in recent years and ownership isn’t afraid to spend money, even if they can’t match the deep pockets of the New York Yankees and Red Sox. I’ve never been a fan of Ozzie Guillen, as I think his management skills result in teams winning in spite of him, so Terry Francona could possibly get more out of the current team.
What about the Chicago Cubs? What if Theo Epstein makes another bad decision and leaves the warm and cozy nest of the Boston Red Sox to see if he can succeed without his mentors and support system in Boston? What if Theo goes to the Cubs? Will he bring Terry Francona with him? Will Terry go with him? We doubt it.
Having managed big, with great players who command great salaries, would Terry Francona be happy with the Seattle Mariners or the Colorado Rockies? On the one hand, he could show how good he is by being successful without spending a lot of money. But, on the other hand, it could take 10 years for the right mix of players to become competitive.
And then there are the New York Yankees. Of course they won’t be replacing Joe Girardi this year, but would they give Francona a high-paying job in his front office? This would have the double effect of getting the satisfaction of sticking your tongue out at the Red Sox while having a manager on hold if Girardi stumbles.
It might be better for Francona to take a year off and recharge the old batteries: spending time with his family and a few nights in the announcer’s box providing color commentary for Major League Baseball broadcasts. There’s a good chance this will happen, particularly since the best outcome for Francona may be the completion of the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to a new owner, something that may not happen before the 2012 season.
Any new Dodgers owner will no doubt want to clean house to give fans a real sense of hope, and bringing in Terry Francona as manager would be a great deal to get the fanbase excited. Also, while the Dodgers will be under the microscope in a major media market, this will be easy compared to what Francona saw as manager of the Boston Red Sox before winning the World Series.
So, we’re looking for Francona to end up as manager of the Dodgers, either in 2012 or 2013, and we’re looking for the new owners to make a big splash with some free-agent signings. Plus, we’re looking to Terry to lead the Dodgers to a regeneration of his past glory days.