Terry Francona's time as the manager of the Cleveland Guardians has officially come to an end. Tito is stepping down from a post he has held since the 2013 season. While he is no longer the manager, the expectation is that he will continue to have a role in the Guardians' organization.
When asked about managing down the road, Francona did not appear interested in taking on a managerial elsewhere, noting that if he was going to manage again, it would be in Cleveland. Francona would go on to hope that Cleveland's next manager has as much success as he did while in Cleveland but is not looking to influence Mike Chernoff and Chris Antonetti in their search for the next manager of the Guardians.
Fracona steps down with the most games managed (1,678) and wins in Cleveland baseball history (921). Cleveland would win the American League Central division four times in Francona's 11 years as manager. The team would advance to the postseason six times under Francona's guidance, including capturing an American League Championship and making a World Series appearance in 2016.
Tito is one of only five managers to win 700 or more games with two different franchises. The others being Bruce Bochy (San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants), Jim Leyland (Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers), Tony La Russa (Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals), and Sparky Anderson (Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers).
The Guardians have reportedly begun their interview process for finding Francona's successor. Cleveland's new manager will have some big shoes to fill, as Francona has not only proven to be an excellent manager but also a key figure in building what is considered to be a good clubhouse culture. Finding someone who is capable of checking both of those boxes will not be easy and it may take some time for that to happen.