Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It’s been many years it seems that things have fallen into place for the Indians, but just two days after the season ended, it looks like things could finally be turning the right way for the Wahoo’s.
Why you may ask? Well, it looks like the team is gearing up to finally get a manager that is not just a rookie or a retread in former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona.
There’s also a decent shot, albeit early in the process, that Sandy Alomar may just be sticking with him, which sounds like lot like the old saying of “having your cake and eating it to.”
Now it’s nowhere near official that Francona is going to take the Indians job, or official that Alomar would stick around, but it just feels like there’s a vibe that both may well happen – and soon.
Chris Antonetti sounded giddy when talking to the Plain Dealer about the interview Friday with Francona, one that lasted about 8 hours.
“We really enjoyed our visit with Terry today. We covered a wide array of topics and emerged from our conversations with a more in-depth understanding of his thoughts on managing and leadership,” Antonetti said.
Some have already taken out of the meeting that Francona is far and away the front-runner for the spot – and why not? Two rings, manager for both the Red Sox and Phillies – he’s got the resume that exactly is what the Indians need.
Alomar spoke with the Indians on Thursday, and while it’s got to be frustrating to know that he’s going up against a super heavyweight when it comes to Francona, he also has a great shot to learn from one of the best if he decides to stick around.
Last season Alomar spoke with the Red Sox, Cubs and Blue Jays, and oddly enough, if he’s not the next skipper for the Indians, he could talk to two of those teams again.
There are rumors that the Red Sox, who fired Bobby Valentine after one season Thursday, want to speak to current Blue Jays skipper and former Indians pitcher John Farrell.
If that happens, Alomar could jump right back as a candidate for the Blue Jays. If the Jays say no, he could talk to the Red Sox about their job as manager again.
Antonetti knows what Francona brings to the table, and wasted little time after firing Manny Acta to jump on the phone with a man he considers a friend for the past decade.
“If you look at some of the young players that emerged from the Boston minor league system and became stars or were very good players — Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Clay Bucholz, Jon Lester, there are a number of guys when he was the manager there he helped transition to the major league level. In addition to that, he’s a great communicator and an accomplished leader,” Antonetti said of Francona.
If the Indians can talk Francona into the job, there’s no better choice than for him to start his coaching staff with Alomar as his bench coach, a spot he had this season with Acta till the former manager got fired with six games left.
Sure it’s a longshot but based on the way things in the MLB landscape are starting to play out, it looks a lot more likely to happen than it did even 72 hours ago when everyone assumed that it was Alomar’s job.
It still could be, or if the Indians play their cards right and things go their way, there’s a shot they could have both Francona and Alomar.
No matter how you draw it up, that’s a homerun that the Indians and fans have been hoping and looking for.