Francona and Red Sox management are scheduled to meet this morning with the “expected resolution,” according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, that Francona will no longer be manager.
While Francona's departure is not certain, it is the likely outcome, in part because he is pressing for a resolution, sources say. He would not be fired; the Red Sox would simply decline their club options on him for 2012 and '13.
On Thursday, General Manager Theo Epstein said Thursday that management had already met and “nobody blames what happened in September [when the team blew a nine-game wild-card lead].”
“The bottom line is, we failed. And our owners deserve better, the fans deserve better and we have to fix it,” Epstein said. “We're going to take a look in the mirror and see if we're the ones to fix it.”
Francona said he and Epstein have discussed his contract and the team’s two-year option. The Red Sox have 10 days to decide whether to exercise it and Francona would not comment on that matter Thursday. He was asked if he wanted to return and he admitted “it’s a fair question” because of the intense pressure that comes with managing the Sox.
“... There's not a whole lot here that isn't trying even in the best of, you know, because everything is so important to people here and that's good,” Francona said. “But because it's fresh and raw, it seems that way, but there have been a lot of trying moments here. We just fought through them, I think, a little bit better.”
A tweet by John Henry, the team’s owner, indicated how raw feelings are but offered no hint of what is to come.
A very quiet day in Boston after a terrible, terrible month for the fans. Night after night they came, they tuned in. Rain, quiet streets.
ESPN Boston echoes the Fox report and the Chicago Sun-Times , too, reports that Francona, 52, wants out. Already speculation is percolating about just where Francona might manage next. There’s an opening with the Chicago White Sox, with Ozzie Guillen moving to the Miami Marlins, and there may be opportunities across town with the Cubs or in St. Louis with the Cardinals. He is increasingly unlikely, it seems, to be managing in Boston next year.
“He has had his fill of the whole thing,’’ a source told the Sun-Times.