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Terry Francona reportedly could be out as Red Sox manager

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  September 30, 2011 06:30 AM

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The changes on Yawkey Way could be coming quickly.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona might be looking for a new job as early as today according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Rosenthal writes that according to major league sources Francona will meet with Sox management this morning, and "the expected resolution is" that Francona will no longer be employed as the manager of the Boston Red Sox.

While Francona's departure is not certain, it is the likely outcome, in part because he is pressing for a resolution, sources say. He would not be fired; the Red Sox would simply decline their club options on him for 2012 and '13.

The New York Daily News is now reporting that the Red Sox and Francona have parted ways and it was Red Sox principal owner John Henry's decision:

The Daily News has been told by sources that Francona is out as Red Sox manager in a meeting this morning with team owner John Henry. The sources said that the decision to end the Sox' relationship with Francona was Henry's call, not general manager Theo Epstein's...

In addition, the Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Francona wants out of Boston, and that the White Sox could be a logical landing spot now that Ozzie Guillen has departed.

“He [Francona] has had his fill of the whole thing," a source told the Sun-Times.

Francona was asked during yesterday's press conference at Fenway Park whether he wanted to stay with the Red Sox.

“Theo and I talked today a little bit. I think we’ll continue to talk tomorrow," Francona said. "Maybe it’s best today to stay with where we’re at. I’s still pretty fresh and pretty raw. It’s a fair question."

Former ESPN sports guy and Friend-of-Tito Keith Olberman also writes that he's heard Francona is heading out of Boston:

As a peck of mainstream baseball guys report that Terry Francona will probably not return as manager of the Boston Red Sox – possibly by mutual consent – I can tell you that early in the week I was told by one source that it was a foregone conclusion. There was only the one indicator, so obviously I didn’t say anything, but I will note that all of the murmurs about people not being on the same page, and the Sox thinking Francona’s light touch with his players had somehow contributed to the September collapse, did not come out of thin air. I got to visit with my friend Tito over the weekend here in New York and while it was two friends talking and should remain that way, I have to say that all the stuff you’ve heard, he’d heard.

Speculation has already begun on who might replace Francona in the Red Sox dugout.

ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted this morning: "A guy who would be a good fit if the Red Sox and Francona part ways: Pete Mackanin, who is currently Charlie Manuel's bench coach."

And there's more chatter about Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.

The Sun-Times is reporting via Gordon Wittenmyer that the Chicago Cubs will be making a run at Epstein:

A day later in Chicago, the question became the same one uttered by a player amid the din that night: ‘‘You think [Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein] would leave to come here?’’

If the answer is yes — and one report Thursday suggested he has told friends he would ‘‘embrace the challenge’’ — the next sound could be the cheering coming from the Cubs’ boardroom.

Epstein yesterday said "nobody blames Tito [Francona] for what happened in September -- that would be totally irresponsible and totally short-sighted."

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