FORT MYERS, Fla. — There has been some talk in Red Sox camp this week about manager Terry Francona‘s contract status and that of general manager Theo Epstein, whose deal reportedly expires after this coming season.
While nothing official has been announced, Francona seems hopeful that the relationship continues.
In a briefing with reporters Tuesday, Francona said that he and Epstein have had their share of voice-raising meetings, but nothing to be concerned about. In the end, their professional bond has won out.
“There’s been days like that. I don’t think we love those days, but I think your relationship has to be strong enough to where you can disagree,” Francona said. “There’s been days I wish I would’ve acted differently, we all do, but it’s a very good relationship.”
In seven seasons together, Francona and Epstein have reached the postseason five times, winning two World Series. Knowing what it takes to navigate through those long seasons together with his GM has become an easier proposition for the skipper.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Francona said. “I’ve learned that being the manager, you have to worry about today. Being the general manager, you have to worry about being the caretaker of the organization. I’ve learned to respect that a little bit more.”
Francona cites one instance in which he may have pushed a bit harder than he would’ve liked. It was 2005, and he wanted right-hander Cla Meredith, who had been pitching very well in the minors, to add to a bullpen that had been giving up some runs.
Meredith pitched in three games for the Red Sox in May of that year, giving up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings, walking four and striking out none.
“It was the biggest mistake. I put him in a bad position,” Francona said of Epstein. “I won’t try to do that again. [Epstein] acquiesced.”
In the end, Francona has all the faith in the world in Epstein getting him what he needs to field a good team.
“You never lose sight of the fact that you have to have good players,” Francona added. “We know that. I don’t ever kid myself for one minute.”