Francona To Leave The Red Sox?

Manager Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox watches batting practice before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The question in the headline is popping up around the Internet, as Red Sox manager Terry Francona is set to meet with Red Sox management Friday to discuss his future with the team. Or, according to some reports, his future elsewhere -- Francona is expected to tell the Red Sox to decline his options, releasing him from his eight-year tenure, according to the Chicago-Sun Times.

Theo Epstein, per Ken Rosenthal, who reports that this might be the team's decision:

"But I know we don't believe in scapegoats, particularly blaming Tito for what happened in September. We all failed collectively. We're all together in this; we've got to live with that. We're not pointing fingers at any one person in particular."

Epstein, however, may not have the final say. Ownership could conclude that Francona, after eight seasons of leading the Red Sox, has simply run his course as manager.

As the Sun-Times mentions, Francona could ask to let his contract run its course on his own, allowing him to pursue jobs elsewhere. Chicago seems the likely destination, given he is a former Cub, and a former White Sox minor-league coach, and both of those clubs will have openings. 

We'll know very soon one way or the other whether Francona is coming back or not (and who made the decision, be it management or Terry himself), as, even without this meeting set for Friday, the team has just nine days left to pick up his option or decline 

UPDATE: Per the Boston Herald's John Tomase, Francona had some reasons for frustrations...

According to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting, Francona was in part annoyed over complaints about the buses to the ballpark and wanted players to focus their energy more positively.

Meanwhile, a number of players put themselves into a position to have their professionalism called into question. According to multiple sources, more than one pitcher drank beer in the clubhouse during games on the days he didn't pitch.

The whole drinking beers thing wouldn't sound so bad were it not for the conditioning issues that were brought up by Buster Olney about a month ago. (~Ben)

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