The Cleveland Indians have extended manager Terry Francona, locking up the two-time World Series champion through the 2022 season.
The extension adds another two years to Tito’s contract and locks the Tribe manager up through at least 2022. That would be Francona’s 10th season as the Indians skipper, which would make him the longest-tenured manager in franchise history, besting Lou Boudreau who managed the club from 1942 to 1950. This deal all but guarantees that Francona will also break Boudreau’s franchise record for wins as a manager which stands at 728. Tito entered 2019 just 183 wins behind Lou making it possible to break the record as soon as 2020.
Wins have certainly been plentiful for the Tribe under Francona. Since taking over as Tribe skipper in 2013 for the fired Manny Acta (and interim Sandy Alomar Jr), the Indians have the most wins of any American League team (545). Since the Al Lopez Indians of the 1950s, this run by the Tribe is without a doubt the best outside of the 1990 Indians (and with another great year or two could even surpass that stretch).
Some Tribe fans may roll their eyes at this extension after the way the last two seasons ended for the Tribe, but one can’t ignore how great the team has been or how well the team has played under Francona. He has already won two American League Manager of the Year Awards as well (in 2013 and 2016). Tito is also currently the second winningest among active managers behind only San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy (who is set to retire after the 2019 season).
Needless to say, the Cleveland Indians are lucky to have a manager like Terry Francona. He has his warts but the team wins under him and locking him up through at least 2022 shows a commitment to winning that this organization needs. The only question now is will the Cleveland Indians retire Number 17 or Number 77 when Francona retires?