Magic voices are talking to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal again, this time about the manager's job for the Cleveland Indians:
Sources: [Terry] Francona to manage #Indians. Announcement likely Monday.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 6, 2012
#Indians have named Terry Francona 42nd MGR in team history; club will make formal announcement Monday morning at Progressive Field
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) October 6, 2012
OK, then. Talking on the MLB Network, Rosenthal added he expects Francona's contract to be longer than three years, and that Francona is looking for a challenge and a place to set down new managerial roots after going 744-552 with two World Series victories in eight seasons with the Boston Red Sox.
Darn! That means no Albert Belle back in the Indians dugout. Going to stay away from his house this Halloween.
Other than the Cubs, the Indians probably are the ultimate challenge for any manager. They came close in the 1990s thanks to an amazing talent pool that included superstars Belle, Jim Thome and Kenny Lofton, but the Indians have gone 64 years without winning a World Series. Some might wonder why Francona would pick Cleveland, considering the resistance there to winning trophies and all, but apparently he is over working in TV for ESPN, and there might not be a better managing opening in the majors this offseason. (Although the Red Sox are looking!)
Francona used to play for the Indians and he worked as a special assistant in the front office in 2001. He has admitted to being good buds with the Cleveland hierarchy, GM Chris Antonetti and president Mark Shapiro. It's not only what you know, but also who.
In addition to Francona, the Indians reportedly interviewed Sandy Alomar Jr., a Cleveland coach and former catcher (of course) who acted as interim skipper when they fired Manny Acta on Sept. 27. The Indians started well this season, finding themselves in first place after 70 games, but crashed and nearly finished last. Thankfully, the Twins caught them.
Obviously working against Alomar was his lack of major-league experience as a manager (even though people have been raving about his potential ever since he was in the twilight of his playing career). In defense of Antonetti and Shapiro, taking a chance on a manager with no experience — no matter how great of a prospect he seems — is risky to their own careers, given the Indians' recent disappointments. Now, whether player personnel can deliver talent to Francona like the Red Sox did with Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Jonathan Papelbon, it remains to be seen.
Perhaps another factor working against Alomar in Cleveland: He didn't look enough like Acta. Odd!
Continuing to work for the Indians — even if he doesn't get another manager's job — would seem highly unlikely for Alomar, having been passed over. But writer Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that a managerial shuffle will occur, with John Farrell moving from Toronto to Boston (where he used to be pitching coach), and Alomar moving to Toronto.
Reporter Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reached Alomar, who took the high road:
When reached, Sandy Alomar Jr. chose not to comment out of respect to Terry Francona. Classy on Alomar's part. Said this is not about him.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 6, 2012