On Saturday, October 6 the Cleveland Indians named Terry Francona the team's new manager. As noted by The Plain Dealer's Tribe beat reporter Paul Hoynes, thanks to Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal rumors spread early Saturday the Indians hired Francona. Unofficial confirmation came when managerial candidate Sandy Alomar Jr. told The Plain Dealer the Indians informed him the organization decided to go Francona's way.
Early evening October 6 the Indians made the news official but without disclosing the new manager's salary. Expect that Monday, October 8 when the Tribe presents Terry Francona to the press at Progressive Field. Hoynes indicates Cleveland and Francona agreed to a four-year contract.
Terry Francona's resume features two World Series Championships, 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox. He managed the Red Sox eight years total, 2004 through 2011. Prior to his time in Boston Francona enjoyed his first stint as a big league skipper managing the Philadelphia Phillies, from 1997 to 2000. Between leading Boston and Philadelphia Francona compiled a 1029-915 win-loss record.
The allure Francona's two World Series Championships carry generates much excitement around Cleveland. One fan posted on Indians TV broadcaster Matt Underwood's Facebook page, "Best news ever!" Another responded, "Very happy with this news. A winner!" Heck, I received a text message from my friend who happens to be a Chicago White Sox fan congratulating me on the Tribe's managerial pickup.
Admittedly the enthused response remains far from a unified one. Critics question if Francona can duplicate his Boston Red Sox success in Cleveland considering the Indians' exponentially smaller payroll. Others see the Indians' need for talent an obstacle Francona will struggle to overcome.
Perhaps I'm still down about the Tribe's disappointing 2012 season, but I agree with the cynics. Sure, hiring a proven winner like Terry Francona offers a step in the right direction. However, Cleveland possesses too many roster gaps. Personally my offseason wish list for the Indians contains two right-handed bats and bare minimum one credible starting pitcher.
I bet some of you just did a double take, shaking your head and asking "'One credible starting pitcher?' Did I read that right?" I'm incredibly generous saying Cleveland only needs one additional starter since no sane person can continue justifying relying on Ubaldo Jimenez and Roberto Hernandez's consistent inconsistencies.
Anyways, back to Terry Francona. Bottom line, I don't watch Cleveland Indians baseball to see the manager. Until the Tribe begins addressing offensive and pitching needs I will refrain from getting overly hyped.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
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