Chicago Cubs Getting Terry Francona and Theo Epstein Could Be Boston 2.0September 30, 2011
News broke out on Friday that the Boston Red Sox parted ways with their two-time World Series championship manager Terry Francona.
So where could the well-established manager take himself next?
How about another cursed franchise like the Chicago Cubs?
It is no secret that the Chicago Cubs are about to undergo a huge overhaul, so why not start things off by getting a manager with a record like Francona?
Under Francona, the Boston Red Sox not only ended their 86-year World Series drought in 2004, they also won another in 2007. Francona has a proven record in Boston, so he would be a great fit with the Chicago Cubs.
Francona put together a winning record in Boston, compiling a record .580 over eight seasons. Even though the Red Sox haven't made the playoffs in the last two seasons, they still put together winning records in the most difficult division in baseball.
The biggest highlight is that Francona never had a losing season in Boston. Could you ask for anything more? I don't think so.
The one thing that may shy off Francona is that he didn't have the best record in the National League when he managed the Phillies. In four seasons, he put together a losing record with a .440 winning percentage. Still, Francona has proven over the years to be a great manager and is obviously the best manager out there on the market.
The Chicago Cubs would be stupid to not pursue Francona. The bigger question is if Francona will listen to an offer from the Cubs, and I don't see why he wouldn't. Francona has a chance to not only be the man to break the Boston Red Sox curse, but the Cubs' long running World Series curse as well.
Of course, it is going to take the firing of Mike Quade to bring in a guy like Terry Francona. I can't imagine any qualified GM coming in and keeping Jim Hendry's guy. The Chicago Cubs are going to go under a head-to-toe overhaul, and whoever is GM will likely be starting at Mike Quade.
I don't see Francona going head first into this challenge on his own either. Perhaps the Cubs are able to get Francona if they bring in the Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.
The GM position is the only spot open at this time, so Epstein is no surprise to be in the Cubs' interest.
A hiring of Epstein would have to the be the first move, as the Cubs need a GM and interm GM Randy Bush will not be making these decisions. Francona is likely to take his time, rather then jumping ship as Ozzie Guillen did. If Epstein is out in Boston, it will be sooner then later. The Red Sox won't be slow to making changes, so he will know if he is in or out likely in the coming days.
The Red Sox fired Francona the day after the season ended. That being said, Red Sox fans are awaiting to see if Epstein will be back, or if the Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are both going to be looking for new GMs and managers (if the Cubs dismiss Mike Quade).
It would be tough to see Epstein leave his post in Boston on his own, though.
Epstein is a Boston guy, so it would be hard to imagine seeing him leaving his favorite franchise. Perhaps the thought of breaking another curse with his former manager would be attractive enough to make him leave.
I know Epstein and Francona recently worked together in Boston, but I don't think that is a reason that they wouldn't work together again. From whats been said so far, it looks as if Francona was pushed out by ownership. Epstein, who was given a lot of control of the Red Sox, may not approve of how this was handled.
Theo Epstein believed in Terry Francona for eight seasons. I can't imagine him losing faith in the manager after compiling a record of 90-72.
With Francona, Epstein won two World Series, and as previously mentioned, never had a losing season. I am pretty sure Epstein understands that you won't win the World Series every year. It just isn't that simple to come out of the AL East every year, especially when the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox are always so close come September.
There so far has not been much talk on either front in Boston.
Epstein, who the Cubs have stated they have interest in, has pushed away chances of coming to Chicago. I mean that can be taken literally, but that was before the Red Sox fell out of the playoff picture. As for the Red Sox organization, they have been quiet, but Epstein probably isn't feeling comfortable with what could happen considering how they handled their manager situation.
Perhaps Epstein is not next on the chopping block, but if he is, I am sure he will be highly sought after.
Epstein would be the ideal general manager for the Cubs. He has proven to be an effective GM working with a big budget and a big-name franchise. The Cubs have to break this curse, so perhaps getting the "experts" would be their best move.
Of course, this all depends on if Francona and Epstein want to listen. Francona is going to garner interest from a whole lot of teams including the Chicago White Sox and perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals if Tony La Russa finally moves on.
Tom Ricketts has a lot of decisions to make this offseason, and he should start his search over on the East Coast.
If the Cubs are able to grab both Francona and Epstein, the rebuilding process would go much quicker than what most would expect. Perhaps there would be no "rebuilding" process. The Cubs would bring in a winning manager with a great reputation and general manager who knows how to bring in talent.