BC-BBA--Indians-Francona Extension,1st Ld-Writethru
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians may have some injury issues, bullpen worries and payroll problems.
They’re set at manager.
The club signed Terry Francona to a two-year contract extension on Wednesday through the 2022 season, giving him more security and a chance to become the longest tenured manager in Cleveland’s rich history.
Francona’s deal was set to expire after 2020. But as he begins his seventh season with the Indians, the club decided to lengthen its relationship with the popular manager known as “Tito” — also his father’s name — for at least another two years.
“Simply put, Tito has been a transformational leader, who has not only impacted our Major League clubhouse, but also the entire organization,” said Chris Antonetti, the club’s president of baseball operations. “Our relationship has been truly collaborative and we are all fortunate to have a future Hall of Fame manager guiding our team as we continue to pursue our ultimate goal of bringing a World Series championship to the city of Cleveland.”
Francona, who will turn 60 later this month, has led the Indians to three consecutive AL Central titles and the World Series in 2016, when Cleveland lost in seven games to the Chicago Cubs. The Indians have made the postseason four times and had a winning record in all six seasons under Francona.
If he stays around three more seasons, and there’s little reason to think he won’t, Francona will surpass Lou Boudreau for the longest managerial run with the club. Boudreau, who was also an All-Star shortstop, managed the Indians from 1942-50. He led them to their last Series title in 1948.
The Indians are an AL-best 547-427 (.562) since 2013 with Francona. His 1,576 career wins are second most among current major league managers, behind only San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy.
Francona won World Series titles with Boston in 2004 and 2007. He was the AL’s top manager in 2013 and 2016.
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