The Cleveland Indians will reportedly hire Terry Francona as the team’s manager after finishing a disappointing 68-94 in 2012.
UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 8 at 11:50 a.m. ET by Adam Wells
At his introductory press conference, Francona made it known that he wants the challenge the job in Cleveland will provide him.
"I didn't come here to go to pasture. I was either going to work here or go back and work at ESPN. I came here because I'm not afraid of a challenge. I thought I was treated very well by the media in Boston. ... I had no complaints about that. Maybe one."
There has been some thought that the Indians job appealed to Francona because it was a low-pressure environment. If that was the case, why take the job?
If you aren't going to put pressure on yourself to win, there is no point in coming back to the big leagues. Francona knows the situation in Cleveland is not perfect. This team has a long way to go, but there is a commitment from both sides to make this work.
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UPDATE: Saturday, Oct. 6, at 7:20 p.m. ET
The Cleveland Indians have named Terry Francona the team's new manager via the team's official Twitter account:
#Indians have named Terry Francona 42nd MGR in team history; club will make formal announcement Monday morning at Progressive Field— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) October 6, 2012
Despite Francona's hesitance to admit it, there does appear to be truth to the reporting from earlier Saturday afternoon. We'll just have to wait for Monday for the details of the deal and to hear from Francona again about his new job.
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UPDATE: Saturday, Oct. 6, at 6:40 p.m. ET
Although multiple sources are reporting via Twitter that Francona and the Cleveland Indians have agreed to terms, Francona denied that much as happened yet on Saturday night, according to a report from ESPN.
"'The report is very premature,' Francona said Saturday night. 'When there's a decision to make, I'll make it.'"
The Tribe are looking to sign their new manager before next week's organizational meetings in Goodyear, Arizona.
---End of update---
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com first reported the deal via Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
Sources: Francona to manage #Indians. Announcement likely Monday.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 6, 2012
Cleveland got off to a hot start but simmered down to finish 44-41 at the All-Star break. The second half of the season was a nightmare as the team fell apart, finishing 24-53.
Cleveland needed someone to blame for its awful second-half performance and found that someone in former manager Manny Acta, who got the ax with six games left in the season.
Sandy Alomar Jr., a former Indians catcher, took over to finish out the season.
Both Alomar Jr. and Francona were candidates for the job and interviewed earlier this week.
Francona last managed the Boston Red Sox before being let go after the 2011 season. He won the 2005 and 2007 World Series with the team.
Since mutually agreeing to leave the Sox amid one of the worst September collapses in baseball history, Francona has worked for ESPN as a TV broadcaster.
But, according to an AP report on NESN.com, being away from the game gave him some perspective and reignited his desire to manage again.
The choice isn’t surprising. Francona was a former adviser to the Tribe in 2001 and has maintained close ties with general manager Chris Antonetti.
Despite being seemingly passed over for the job, Alomar Jr. is expected to be willing to come aboard with Francona. But that will likely be determined by his ability to secure work elsewhere around the league.
Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the NFL and the Cleveland Browns for the site.
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