Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona could be headed to the Cleveland Indians to replace the recently fired Manny Acta, and all we have to show for it is one awful year of Bobby Valentine.
If Francona should find his way to Cleveland--and it's not a done deal yet--it shouldn't mean much to the Red Sox, but there will be some small impact.
For one thing It might open up Sandy Alomar Jr. as a candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant managerial position in Boston. He was looked at last year before being passed up for Valentine, and will get about a week to show his stuff as the interim manager with the Cleveland Indians. He's been a presence in just about every vacancy for the last few years, so it's only a matter of time.
For another, man is that ever going to be awkward.
It's one thing to see a former Red Sox player come to Fenway. For the most part the dealing of players is just a matter of business. Contract costs get too high, performance wains, prospects pressure, etc. The Sox can make things particularly bad with some of the stuff that tends to get thrown around, but it's still sort of accepted and expected.
It's another thing to see a one-and-done guy come back with some other team. If some GM is crazy enough to give Bobby Valentine another job after this three-ring circus of a season, then we feel bad for them and hoot and holler every time he decides Justin Thomas is just the man for the clutch inning.
But imagine if Terry Francona is the man sitting in that visitor's dugout? And if he joins the Indians, that'll happen often enough. This is the guy who, for eight years, seemed likely to manage the Red Sox until he was good and ready to retire. Oh, sure, some of us had our problems with him, but on the whole nobody really expected him to go. He was a fixture, for better or worse.
Managers, after all, don't usually deal with the same issues as players. Their contracts are not the sort of thing that really cause serious problems for GMs looking to stay within a budget, especially one the size of Boston's. Once they get past a certain point, they basically seem to have tenure. Sure, some guys will retire and then come back, but there's no enmity there.
Terry Francona, on the other hand, was shown the door with allegations of drug abuse and incompetence rolling along right behind him. Not even his greatest critics were comfortable with how that was handled, much lest his supporters.
Now imagine that man sitting in the opposite dugout, opposing the Red Sox. Imagine every loss the Sox deal him, every defeat they suffer at his hands. I'm not sure which would be worse, the feeling of piling on if Boston beats him while he's struggling (entirely likely with the current state of the Indians) or the fact that any time the Indians beat the Sox it will bring talk of how letting him go was the biggest mistake they ever made.
All I'm saying is it would be really great if he somehow made his way to the National League.