Will Terry Francona’s new deal affect the White Sox?


Jul 31, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians manager

Terry Francona

before the game against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. The Indians beat the White Sox 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians announced that manager Terry Francona has signed a two-year contract extension to stay with the club through the 2018 season.

With Francona managing the Indians to two very productive seasons in his two seasons with the Tribe, how does the Indians locking up the two-time World Series champion manager affect the Chicago White Sox, and the rest of the AL Central for the next few years?

Slowly the AL Central has become a tough division in the American League, and in 2015 it could be the best in the AL if teams make the necessary adjustments.

In an article on ESPN.com, it said of Francona’s contract extension:

"“The deal announced Tuesday includes club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Francona’s previous contract was set to expire in 2016.”"

The Tigers have won the past four AL Central championships, but also remember the Kansas City Royals are the reigning AL champions, making it to the seventh game of the World Series before falling to the San Francisco Giants.

So we know those two teams (Tigers, Royals) will be very solid.

Then there are the Indians who had a winning record of 85-77 this past season, and keeping Francona will continue to make that club a very dangerous foe in the AL Central for years to come.

In his first season with the Indians (2013), Francona led the Indians to a 92-70 record, second place in the Central and a spot in the postseason. In 14 years as a manager, Francona’s teams have 90-plus wins seven times.

What also has to be take into consideration with the Indians is his teams have had an overall winning record the past 10 seasons either with the Boston Red Sox or the Indians.

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What I like about Francona, but what worries me as a White Sox follower, is he knows how to build a championship winner, something the White Sox haven’t done for nearly a decade. The Indians would have most likely been a better team in ’14 if not for injuries, and that is worrisome.

Against the White Sox in ’14, the Indians were 10-9, and in Francona’s first season with the Indians in ’13, Cleveland was 17-2. That makes Francona 27-11 in his two seasons vs. the White Sox while managing Cleveland.

Francona, who may be the best manager in the division, is gradually getting the pieces he wants to build another championship contender, and if the White Sox sit pat this offseason, they’ll be in for yet another long season in the AL Central.

So with the Indians securing the services of Francona, all AL Central teams will be affected in some way, shape or form. Add in the Minnesota Twins just signing Paul Molitor as their new skipper, the AL Central will be enjoyable to watch in ’15, that is for sure.