The Boston Red Sox announced late Friday afternoon that Terry Francona would not return as the team's manager, confirming speculation that had built up throughout the day.
The Red Sox declined Francona's club options for next season and, in effect, a club option for 2013. The team released a statement saying that after a meeting with Francona this morning, both parties agreed that it was time for Francona to move on.
Tito said that after eight years here he was frustrated by his difficulty making an impact with the players, that a different voice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on, the statement read. After taking time to reflect on Tito's statements, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not to exercise the option years on his contract.
Fox Sports first reported early Friday morning that Francona would likely not return as Red Sox manager after a September meltdown that left the Red Sox out of the playoffs. A frantic, dramatic last day saw the Red Sox fall in the ninth inning to the Orioles while the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees in extra innings. Boston had held a nine-game lead in September on the Rays for the American League wild card spot.
Speculation began to build as the Red Sox's collapse continued. Friday, the Red Sox finally made their move. In a statement, general manager Theo Epstein thanked Francona for his eight years in Boston, which saw him win the franchise's two first World Series titles since 1918.
Without Tito's commitment over eight years, we would not be the organization we are today, Epstein said in the statement. Nobody at the Red Sox blames Tito for what happened at the end of this season; we own that as an organization. This year was certainly a difficult and draining one for him and for us. Ultimately, he decided that there were certain things that needed to be done that he couldn't do after eight years here, and that this team would benefit from hearing a new voice.
In the release, Francona looked back on his eight seasons in Boston with nothing but fondness -- save for this season -- which he said Thursday was, in the moment, probably his most draining as a manager.
I've always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation, of ownership to have the right person doing this job, Francona said in a statement. I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.
Speculation has centered on the possibility of Francona landing a new job with one of the two Chicago teams, the White Sox or the Cubs.