As he continues to recover from his health issues, Guardians manager Terry Francona is looking forward to being back on the field in 2022.
Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona recently caught up with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, and in true Francona fashion, the interview had no shortage of entertaining quotes from one of baseball’s best (including Francona’s typical roast of Rays manager Kevin Cash).
But the most important tidbit to come out of the interview was that Francona is itching to get back into the dugout for the Guardians in 2022.
Despite his health issues – gastrointestinal issues in 2020 and a hip replacement/staph infection in his toe (which nearly resulted in the amputation of his foot) in 2021 – Francona plans to be back managing one of baseball’s youngest rosters. Though his managerial style comes with its own quirks, making it nearly impossible for some younger players to crack the lineup for seemingly arbitrary reasons, Francona is a Hall of Fame-bound leader and the Guardians will of course be lucky to have him as long as he is able and willing to be around.
Somewhat surprisingly, Francona, 62, isn’t even one of the five oldest active managers in the game. As of now, Tony La Russa, Dusty Baker, Joe Maddon, Brian Snitker and the newly minted manager of the New York Mets, Buck Showalter, are all over 65. If Francona can stay healthy, the two-time World Series winner should be able to guide the Guardians through whatever growing pains they experience and into what should hopefully be another fruitful contention window.
Currently, Francona is 17th all-time in wins as a manager with 1,782 and is already Cleveland’s all-time leader with 753 wins; he passed Lou Boudreau, who had 728 wins, this past season.
The Guardians front office has continued to stick by Francona during his health battle, as there have been no signs whatsoever that the team is looking to move on from its manager. Cleveland has certainly had a good thing going with Francona, and he feels the same (in more ways than one):
"“Cleveland’s been good. I mean, can you imagine me riding a scooter to the ballpark when I was managing at Fenway? Somebody would have assassinated me.” (source: Boston Globe)"