The collapse of the 2011 Boston Red Sox has finally hit the bottom.
A Nation looking for somebody to blame for the team’s 7-20 finish and desperate to reclaim their “cursed underdogs” have found a scapegoat in manager Terry Francona, either by way of a resignation or by the Sox deciding not to pick up his 2012 option depending on how you want to spin it. Regardless, Francona has managed his last game in Boston and now carries in his chest cavity an enormous red bullet with Theo Epstein’s name on the side.
A major league source has confirmed that Terry Francona and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to part ways.
Francona’s multi-year deal, signed as part of a contract extension in 2008, is done with the Red Sox holding two option years on his contract for 2012 and 2013. The Red Sox will not pick those option years up and instead will pay him the $750,000 buyout rather than the $4.25 million due for 2012 and $4.5 million for 2013.
This comes after a Thursday press conference wherein both Epstein and Francona expressed regrets for the 2011 season. Not being prepared, being too prepared, doing everything they could to stop the slide but not being able to “reach the team”. On a Boston radio show this morning, fans were freaking out and so confused about what’s going on that they now believe that “Sox interested in LaRussa” is about them. This is the legacy Fracona is going to leave. A team that barely missed the playoffs playing in the toughest division in Major League Baseball is suddenly “in ruin”.
This is the legacy he should leave: 744 wins, second on the franchise’s all-time leaders list after eight seasons as manager. He managed the Red Sox to two World Series titles, one in 2004 and and one in 2007, something they hadn’t been able to do since 1918 … but he missed the playoffs this season and last season, and so it goes.