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Sports


Francona's friendships in Cleveland make him a powerful leader
Francona reportedly includes a clause in contract that allows him to leave if front office is fired
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and JONATHAN REISDORF


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Terry Francona has been friends with Chris Antonetti, Indians Vice President and General Manager, for 12 years.
Courtesy of (Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)
Download (WKSU Only)

The Indians so far are releasing few details about new manager Terry Francona’s four-year contract. But one clause leaked by ESPN provides some insight to how the club will operate under Francona’s leadership. Francona reportedly will be allowed to leave the job should his friends, General Manager Chris Antonetti and President Mark Shapiro, get fired.  WKSU Commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about the unusual dynamic. 

Terry Pluto commentary audio

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Terry Pluto talks about Joe Haden's apology

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Deal happened quickly
WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the team was in talks with Francona about the job before his “interview” last Thursday. Pluto suggests, “Unless Terry Francona fell asleep in the middle of the meeting, or took off his shoes and banged it on the desk,” the job was his if he wanted it.

Francona’s relationship with the team president and general manager
There reportedly is an out clause in Francona’s contract. If Team President Mark Shapiro or General Manager Chris Antoinette get fired, Francona can leave with no penalty.

“He is saying that frankly, ‘I am backing them. That’s why I am here.’”

He’s buying those guys more time because he wants to work with them” 

His words carry more weight
Pluto believes that Francona will have more of a decision making power. Francona said he understands the role of a manager. “He said ‘chain of command’ about fourteen times.” He should have more control on the roster than former manager Manny Acta had.

Big budget Boston vs. small budget Cleveland
Francona didn’t directly answer the budget questions. “He did finally admit that a bigger budget allows you to make mistakes.”

“He has to make sure when he wants to do something, and they put money behind it, that you’re going to live with this.”

Health concerns
There were reports that Francona had a pain pill problem after he was fired by the Red Sox in 2011. He’s had two knee replacements, a pulmonary embolism and has to take blood thinners when he flies.

“The truth is, it’s a desk job,” Pluto said. “You’re hiring this guy for his wisdom and people skills.”

Former Indians Manager, Charlie Manuel, also had health issues. Francona spent that last year at ESPN working on his body so he could get back out there and manage again.

Big investment
Details will come out on Francona’s contract but Pluto believes the contract is closer to his $4 million contract with the Red Sox in contrast to Acta’s $1 million deal. The team has never had a four-year contract with a manager. Pluto says the Dolans spent and committed to Francona.

“They obviously looked in the mirror and said a manager can’t fix everything but he might be able to fix something and they did the right thing.”

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