In the thanks for nothin’ department, the Red Sox let Tito Francona go today. Something about a collapse or something. I understand the frustration that must come with such a shocking finish, and I realize some heads had to roll. But Francona will go somewhere else, and he’ll likely make any team he signs with better right away.
Tito Francona was actually the son of a big leaguer named (oddly enough) Tito Francona. Tito Francona I played from the 1950s until 1970, and Tito Francona II played in the 1980s. One of those seasons was spent on the North side of Chicago in a Cubs uniform. The blue pullovers he’s wearing above are no more, but I’m hoping he decides to come back and manage the team, anyway. The two World Series that he won in Boston are enough of a winning pedigree for me.
The Cubs drafted Francona out of high school back in the 1970s, and he turned them down cold. He signed a few years later with the Expos, instead. So maybe he feels like he owes the organization something for that long-ago snub. Or maybe his one year of playing in Chicago sparked an interest in returning as manager some day. Whatever will be, will be.
I know that Baker and Piniella had both won to some degree before they came to Chicago and got eaten up by all of the expectations. But a two-time World Series winner could bring some excitement just by signing his name on a contract.
The General Manager situation is more important, I realize, and the idea that Francona and Theo Epstein are a package deal is silly. Whoever the new General Manager is, he may not want Francona around. So the Cubs’ hands are tied, for now. But Mike Quade should take one final look around, if he hasn’t already. There’s no way he should return after a 91-loss season. And if Francona can lose his job, all but a handful of managers at the big league level should wonder about their own job security.
Bring on the postseason!