The Boston Red Sox announced that manager Terry Francona was fired, errrrrr, decided to step down from his managerial duties over the weekend. The announcement came shortly after the Red Sox finished off that epic choke job which cost them a playoff spot.
And make no mistake, this was a firing.
The Red Sox decided not to pick up his option on his last two years. Now everybody is playing the “who made the call?” game.
Whether it was Francona’s call or management’s call (I still think this was management’s call), Francona was not to blame for the choke job. He is a respected manager, and and it’s not like he turned into a bum overnight. Dude won TWO World Series in FOUR seasons – both were sweeps!
I think the problem was in the clubhouse. It was obvious that the players were not on the same page with each other. There were reports of pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse on their off-days. Some of the big-money free agents of recent years didn’t mesh well with the incumbents.
The players, especially free agent bust Carl Crawford, underachieved all season. Francona also said that he didn’t like the direction this clubhouse was headed this season. Case in point, Francona was said to have called a “players-only” meeting – after a 14-0 WIN!
Another person I blame is GM Theo Epstein. After all, he was the guy who brought all those players in. Where is the accountability for that guy?
Speaking of Francona, it will not take him long to find a new job. He is already rumored for the Chicago Cubs job (I think the Cubs’ brass would sell their mothers to make that happen). Hell, if Francona was able to manage in tough markets (Boston and Philadelphia), then he could manage anywhere.
Choke job or otherwise, Francona is still a great manager.