After the debacle that became the Boston Red Sox 2011 season, one would assume a fresh start would be best for all parties involved. After going 7-20 in the month of September, the Red Sox pushed manager Terry Francona out the door and Theo Epstein chose to leave. Epstein will now be leaned upon to rescue the most disgruntled fan base in America while Francona continues to search for a job. Initially, it was believed that Epstein had no interest in hiring Francona, given the clubhouse issues that plagued Boston at the end of last season. If that is indeed the case, it sounds like Francona will be disappointed.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago is the preferred landing spot for Francona.
Epstein has admitted he and his former manager with the Red Sox have talked at length and that “I don’t think we’d have to” go through a formal interview if Francona indeed becomes the choice.
For his part, Francona says he is “trying to stay under the radar” with his unspoken candidacy, but a source very close to him says “deep down” he badly wants to manage the Cubs — for whom he played in 1986 while falling in love with Wrigley Field — and has told Epstein so.
Francona and Epstein rescued the Red Sox together, bringing Boston its first championship in 86 years. It has been more than 100 years since the Cubs won the World Series, so it would make sense that both general manager and manager would want a shot at breaking another historic curse. However, you can understand the risk that would be involved if Epstein hired Francona. If Chicago doesn’t perform, everyone will wonder why Epstein had to bring in his old buddy, who happens to have overseen the worst September collapse in MLB history. While tempting, the move may be too risky for an already cranky city of fans.
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