Theo Epstein, 1:45 PM:
John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, Ben Cherington and I met with Terry Francona this morning at Fenway Park to exchange thoughts and information on the 2011 season and discuss areas for improvement going forward. We all plan on taking some time to process the thoughts expressed in the meeting. There are no immediate plans for an announcement.
Gordon Edes, 11:06 AM:
Terry Francona told Boston Red Sox staff members on Thursday that he will not be returning as manager, a club source said on Friday.
Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports:
Terry Francona will meet with Red Sox management on Friday morning, and the expected resolution is that he no longer will be the team's manager, major league sources say.Daryl Van Schouwen, Chicago Sun-Times:
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.
Francona has had enough of his eroding Boston experience, a major-league source said, and will ask the club not to exercise the option on his contract.The Red Sox front office is smart enough to know that dumping Francona would not solve any of the problems that led to their collapse. And I have no doubt that Theo Epstein was telling the truth yesterday when he said:
"He has had his fill of the whole thing," the source told the Sun-Times.
[N]obody blames what happened in September on Tito. It would be totally irresponsible and totally short-sighted. ... [W]e don't believe in scapegoats, and in particular no one blames Tito for what happened in September. We all failed collectively.Gordon Edes was on ESPN late last night saying that it's possible the team wanted to make a change but are content to make it look like Tito's decision. I would assume that if Francona was leaving it was because he wanted to leave, but there is always more going on behind the scenes that we will never know about.
At yesterday's press conference, Francona admitted that he had called a team meeting on September 7, after the Red Sox had beaten the Blue Jays 14-0. (my emphasis)
This team I think became challenging at the end. There were some things I was worried about. We were spending too much energy on things that weren't putting our best foot forward toward winning. We spent a few minutes in the clubhouse that day talking about that. There were some things that did concern me. Normally as the season progresses, there are events that make you care about each other, and this club, it didn't always happen as much as I wanted it to. And I was frustrated by that.The Herald reports:
Francona was in part annoyed over complaints about the buses to the ballpark and wanted players to focus their energy more positively.More Francona:
Meanwhile, a number of players put themselves into a position to have their professionalism called into question. According to multiple sources, more than one pitcher drank beer in the clubhouse during games on the days he didn't pitch.
While clubhouse imbibing is a tradition as old as baseball itself ... the Red Sox also had a number of players break down during the season, suggesting that they weren't taking proper care of themselves.
Ultimately you don't need a team that wants to go out to dinner together. But you need a team that wants to protect each other on the field and be fiercely loyal to each other on the field. That's what ultimately is really important. ... I wanted us to handle things on the field a little bit better than we did. At times, we just didn't get there and it was very difficult.Theo Epstein:
[W]e did sense that things weren't right. A lot of things went wrong and a lot of things had to go wrong for us to blow the lead but they did. I don't think any of them were completely unforeseen. We tried different things. I know Tito talked about his meeting in Toronto. I actually addressed the team later on in the month before a game. ... There was a lot of talent in that clubhouse and we didn't get results commensurate with that talent.Francona will meet with Epstein and the ownership group at 10 AM this morning.
Of all the possible changes the team could make this winter, this is probably the most surprising - and depressing.