According to several reports, the Sox skipper will part ways with the team on Friday.
Ken Rosenthal reported that the Red Sox were not going to fire Francona but rather decline the option years on his contract. The Chicago Sun-Times cited a source that said Francona “has had his fill of the whole thing.” Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann, a friend of Francona, said the manager’s exit from Boston was a “foregone conclusion.”
Earlier this month, Peter Gammons spoke of a “disconnect” between Francona and Theo Epstein, which he clarified Thursday on WEEI by calling it a “distance.”
“I really sensed that Tito was kind of out on his own island,” Gammons said.
Francona, 52, signed on as the Red Sox’ manager after the 2003 season, leading the team to a 755-552 record. He was at the helm for the World Series title in 2004, the Sox’ first since 1918, and again in 2007. The Red Sox averaged 93 wins per season under Francona’s control and made the playoffs in five of his eight seasons. His playoff record with Boston was 28-17, and he was the only manager in history to win his first eight World Series games.
Francona did break character on Thursday in a news conference, shedding some light on issues that he felt plagued his team.
“This team I think became challenging at the end,” Francona said. “I remember a day in Toronto, it was after the game we won I think 14-0, and I ended up having a meeting … because there were some things I was worried about. I thought we were spending too much energy on things that weren’t putting our best foot forward toward winning. And we spent a few minutes in the clubhouse that day talking about that.
“There were some things that did concern me,” he added. “Teams normally, as the season progresses, there’s events that make you care about each other, and this club, it didn’t always happen as much as I wanted it to. And I was frustrated by that.”