The Indians introduced Francona to the press at a conference at Progressive Field and he becomes the 42nd manager in club history. Francona’s no stranger to Cleveland due to his relationship with general manger Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro, the team president. He worked with the Indians’ front office in 2001 and will now be tied to the club for the next four years. He also played with the team in 1988 and his father was a member of the Indians from 1959 to 1964.
Francona said he’s kept in touch with Shapiro and Antonetti since leaving the team and said he values their friendship, guidance, and leadership. He said it will be a great challenge in Cleveland and he’s looking forward to meeting them as a unit. Antonetti didn’t waste any time in contacting Francona after manager Manny Acta was let go on Sept. 27. Alomar took over the club on an interim basis until the end of the regular season.
Francona realizes that he has a lot of hard work ahead of him since the Indians lost 94 games this season
and went just 18-45 after July 27. The Indians were just 3 1/2 games back of first place on that date, but finished the campaign 20 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division. It was the club’s fourth consecutive losing season and the team hasn’t made an appearance in the playoffs since 2007. Francona lead the Red Sox to a World Series title that season after beating the Indians in the
American League Championship Series.
After leaving Boston, Francona went to work with television broadcaster ESPN where he worked as an analyst. He said he realizes that Cleveland doesn’t have as much money to spend on players as Boston does, but his team will be competitive and that’s one of the challenges that he’ll most be looking forward to.