Terry Francona, who has the highest winning percentage of any Red Sox manager since 1950 (375-273, .579) and is the first manager to take the team to the postseason three times, will be given a contract extension after the season, club sources confirmed yesterday.
Francona, whose contract was due to expire after the 2008 season, is expected to have at least two more years tacked on.
Perhaps the only surprise is that it hasn't happened already. Managers Joe Maddon, Ozzie Guillen, Jim Leyland, Ron Washington and Charlie Manuel were given extensions or had options picked up. Francona was signed to a three-year, $1.65 million deal with an option for 2007 in December, 2003, after Grady Little's contract was not renewed.
That contract, which placed Francona in the lowest quadrant of managerial pay, was replaced in March, 2006, with a two-year extension that supplemented his $600,000 salary with a $650,000 signing bonus, and added two years at $1.65 million in 2007 and $1.75 million in 2008. There also were performance incentive bonuses tied to the club's performance in the postseason.
At $7.5 million a year, Joe Torre was baseball's highest-paid manager in 2007. Torre rejected a $5 million base salary offer from the Yankees that contained incentive bonuses that could have made the total package worth $8 million.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein approached Francona during the summer about an extension, and ownership is now on board with bringing back Francona, 48, through at least the 2010 season.
Crisp won't startWhat Francona said would have been a difficult decision - whether to start Coco Crisp or Jacoby Ellsbury in center field - became academic after Francona reported Crisp had not recovered from running into the center-field wall while making a terrific, game-ending catch in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. The rookie Ellsbury, who started Games 6 and 7 because Crisp is hitting .161 (5 for 31) with nine whiffs in the postseason, will draw the start in Game 1 of the World Series tonight.
"Coco banged himself pretty good the other night," Francona said. "He was actually unavailable for most of our workout today. He was getting treatment."
Crisp took part in the four-inning simulated game thrown by Jon Lester. "But he's not feeling real good," Francona said. "Not to the point where we'll take him off the roster, but probably to the point where we - it made a very difficult decision maybe not quite as difficult."
Snyder makes rosterReliever Kyle Snyder took Tim Wakefield's place on the 25-man World Series roster. He was left off both the division series and LCS rosters. His inclusion continues a triumphant first full season in the big leagues that came after Snyder had four major arm surgeries, two on his elbow and two on his shoulder, that threatened to end the career of the No. 1 draft choice of the Kansas City Royals in 1999. Snyder was 2-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 46 appearances for the Sox, mostly as a long man. The Sox chose Snyder over Julian Tavarez, further evidence of how far the veteran righthander has fallen off the charts with the Sox. Tavarez started the season in the rotation but wound up pitching sparingly out of the bullpen, making just five appearances with a 7.27 ERA in September. Tavarez pitched for the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series; he took the loss in Game 1 after giving up a home run to Mark Bellhorn.
Bad blood between the Sox and Rockies? "Whatever happened has long been forgotten," according to Sox chairman Tom Werner, who said he received an e-mail from Rockies owner Charlie Monfort wishing him well yesterday. Two years ago, the Rockies thought they were getting catcher Kelly Shoppach from the Sox for outfielder Larry Bigbie as part of a three-way deal in which outfielder Eric Byrnes was supposed to go from Colorado to Baltimore. But the Sox balked, the Rockies were left on the hook for part of Byrnes's contract, and they didn't get the catcher they wanted. The commissioner's office got involved, and the Sox offered to pay the guaranteed portion of Byrnes's contract.
Werner, when he was owner of the Padres, backed the Rockies' expansion entry into the NL in 1993. He also was closely involved with two players, Brewers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. and Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, who played key roles in Colorado's late-season run. Werner was "excoriated" in San Diego when he traded slugger Gary Sheffield to the Marlins for a package that included Hoffman, then a struggling setup man for Florida. "Our scouts thought he could become a closer," Werner said. Hoffman became the first closer in big league history to save 500 games. He also became teammates with Tony Gwynn Sr., the Padres icon told by Werner that he would never be traded as long as he was owner. Gwynn's son, Tony Jr., became very attached to Hoffman when he accompanied his dad to the Padres clubhouse. And on the last weekend of the season, with the Padres needing just one win to advance to the postseason, it was Gwynn Jr. who stroked a game-tying triple off Hoffman, who later took the loss in the one-game tiebreaker between the Rockies and Padres.
"It was my two degrees of separation to the Rockies," said Werner, whose son, Teddy, works in the Brewers' front office.