But the Sox were a colossal disappointment the last two seasons, finishing in third place each time despite one of the highest payrolls in baseball. The team has not won a playoff game since 2008.
The team was 90-72 this season, losing 20 of its final 27 games in squandering a nine-game lead on a playoff berth.
The team was wildly inconsistent this season, winning only two of its first 10 games. The Sox did not get over .500 until May 16. A stretch of inspired baseball followed. The Red Sox were 36-15 in June and July, moving into first place in the American League East.
Then came what even Epstein described as a collapse for the ages. The Red Sox staggered through September, unable to win two games in a row.
Francona endorsed bench coach DeMarlo Hale to succeed him. But Epstein said he informed the coaching staff that their jobs were not safe, given the change.
Francona could be a candidate for the vacant managerial position with the White Sox.
“I don’t know what I want to do. I know I want to stay in the game,’’ Francona said “This is all I’ve ever done and all I ever want to do.’’