Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – A lot of people wonder just how genuine the interest is that former Phillies and Red Sox manager Terry Francona is apparently showing in the Indians manager job.
While he hasn’t come to Cleveland for an interview just yet, Francona seems more than just a little interested in at least talking to the front office about the job.
“I wouldn’t be interviewing unless I was extremely excited,” Francona said to Paul Hoynes via the Plain Dealer.
The manager will speak to the Indians late next week, likely after current interim manager Sandy Alomar gets the first interview for the manager position.
Francona has a history with the Indians, his dad, Tito Francona, played for the Indians from 1959 through 1964. He hit .366 (143-for-399) and finished fifth in AL MVP voting in 1959.
“When I told my dad I was interviewing with the Cleveland Indians, he was probably the happiest man in the world,” Francona told Hoynes.
Many think that Francona could use an offer from the Indians as leverage to head to another team that has an opening. While that could happen, his words to the PD seemed to give the impression that he really would love to come to Cleveland.
“People don’t know me very well if they don’t know I like a challenge,” said Francona. “I’m excited by a challenge and I’m not afraid of a challenge. Especially, when I can do it with people I respect and care about.”
This season Francona has been working for ESPN, but before that he was the skipper in Boston from 2004 through 2011. He led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
His history with the Tribe goes further than just his dad. He was a special assistant to Mark Shapiro in 2000 after he was fired by the Phillies.
He also told Hoynes that he’s become close with current Indians GM Chris Antonetti, who said he’s already had more than one talk with Francona.
“We’d met a couple of years before at the winter meetings,” said Francona. “We were both running on treadmills working out. Through Mark I met Chris Antonetti and over the years we’ve become good friends.”
So on paper, Francona coming to Cleveland seems like a fit. Now the question is – will the two sides see it that way, or will it be a swing and a miss for the Tribe?