The Cleveland Indians fired manager Manny Acta on Thursday, as the team continued to fall further and further out of contention as the 2012 MLB season progressed. It was the second straight season that the Indians began the year off well, only to falter in August and September. Acta was replaced with Sandy Alomar Jr. for the final week of the season.
But even before Cleveland fired Acta, the speculation surrounding Terry Francona was already well under way.
It is no secret that the Indians would love to convince Francona to leave ESPN and become the team’s next manager. The former two time winning World Series manager with the Boston Red Sox will remain the most attractive managerial option on the market until he decides to return to a clubhouse. The question is, are the Indians the best fit for Francona?
Sources say that Francona already has had preliminary contact with the Indians, the team for whom he worked as a special assistant in 2001. That does not mean that he is at all close to accepting a position with Cleveland. Francona will not come cheaply for any team, and the Indians may not be able to afford to hire Francona, despite his ties to the team in the past.
It is also not a dream job for Francona, nor is it an ideal situation. While the Indians are not a bad team, they do not spend enough money to compete for a playoff spot on a yearly basis. They just don’t have the revenue and the market is not large enough in comparison to many others.
If Francona does want to return to manage in the big leagues for the 2013 season, he will be best suited waiting for the right opportunity. His dream job is reportedly to manage the Los Angeles Angels. Mike Scioscia is still the team’s manager, although if the Angels fail to make the 2012 MLB Playoffs, he may be relieved of his duties. The Detroit Tigers could also part ways with Jim Leyland, depending on how things shake out the rest of this season.
Either job would be much more desirable than Cleveland due to a number of reasons. The Indians may want Francona, but it remains unlikely that the feeling is mutual.