Francona gets contract extension through 2018 | indians.com — The Indians have agreed to a two-year contract extension with manager Terry Francona, committing to the manager through 2018 with club options to extend his tenure through 2020. This is the longest contract ever given to an Indians manager.
The significance of this move is hard to miss. We are not even 24 hours out from the Cubs' press conference introducing their new manager, Joe Maddon, whom they essentially poached from the very low-budget Rays, and this only a matter of weeks after the Rays lost their GM to the very well heeled Dodgers.
Over the past 20 years, as financial differences between teams grew exponentially larger, those advantages seemed to be very limited outside of player salaries. More money to work with is always an attraction, but small-market clubs were still highly competitive for top talent in the arena of front-offices personnel, managers and coaches. Sure, a small handful of managers were seen as blue-chip and were paid as such — Torre, La Russa, that's about it — but as far as we could tell, over 90 percent of managers and executives would have been happy to go to 90 percent of the teams, wherever their best and highest opportunity would be found.
The Rays' losses had to put other small-market clubs on edge. Were rich clubs about to just start buying up all the top coaching talent? Did a club with less resources than the Cubs even have a shot at Joe Maddon? And remind me again ... why exactly is Terry Francona managing the Cleveland Indians?
So we confirm today, in a sense, what that reason is and that it still holds. He's in Cleveland because he wants to be in Cleveland — working directly, incidentally, for a GM who also probably turned down the chance to go work for a club with more money. It's beyond cliche that the Indians fans have seen a lot of bad luck and bad management over the decades of our lives. In this decade, at least, we've got Terry Francona.