The Chicago Cubs’ managerial search has taken an interesting turn. Ever since news first broke that Theo Epstein would be joining the Cubs’ front office, there was speculation that he would be joined by Terry Francona. Epstein and Francona have former the General Manager/Manager tandem for the Boston Red Sox for the past eight seasons, but after a Red Sox collapse in the month of September, most believe it was time for the two to go their separate ways. As recently as today, one reporter suggested that with Francona being fired and Epstein leaving the Red Sox organization, it finally allowed the two to have a clean break from one another.
But both Epstein and Francona still have a mutual respect for one another. And despite recent rumblings, Epstein’s first managerial with the Cubs may be the same as the only managerial hire he made with the Red Sox.
The Cubs President of Baseball Operations told reporters that he and Francona have “spoken regularly” since the regular season concluded, and the two talked today presumably about the Cubs’ managerial vacancy. Epstein also admitted that the two plan to talk once more about whether or not Francona is a fit for the positon. Epstein also referred to Francona as a “top candidate” on any organization’s wish list of prospective managers, but also told reporters that Francona would have to decide if the Cubs’ position was right for him.
This could me be reading too much into this, but it sounds like Epstein is trying to allude to the idea that Francona will be the next manager of the Cubs’. Francona would be an obvious “fit” for the Cubs’ managerial seat, considering he was successful in the same system in Boston that Epstein is trying to implement with the Cubs. If Epstein already has his manager in place, chances are it is Francona. Considering how long the two have worked together with the Red Sox, Epstein admitted that Francona would not have to interview for the Cubs’ position. Judging by Epstein’s comments, I get the feeling that the Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations wants to re-unite with Francona.
The question is does Francona want to return to managing right away rather than taking a year off and returning to a managerial position after the 2o12 season. If you believe the picture that the Boston media painted of Francona over the past month– a pill-popping, cheating husband who had no control over his players–than you would be inclined to believe that Francona needs to take some time off from the game. But if there is any sane person that watched the American League Championship Series in the beginning portions, they would have heard a guy in Francona that sounded refreshed and very intelligent when it came to talking about baseball. Francona may be a lot of things, but among those things, he is one of the most intelligent managers in the game today.
Francona would be an excellent hire for the Cubs, and the only question that may exist now is “When will the press conference be?”