Francona focused on doing job, not losing it

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Francona focused on doing job, not losing it

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
NEW YORK -- In the middle of their worst September in modern memory and a late-season falloff in play that has threatened their appearance in the playoffs, the Red Sox have also had to deal with a report that suggested that manager Terry Francona's job security could be in jeopardy.

Baseball analyst Peter Gammons said on The Dan Patrick Show Thursday that a rift had developed between GM Theo Epstein and Francona and hinted that Francona's job might on the line if the Sox failed to reach the post-season for a second straight
year.

Francona was asked about the issue during his daily pre-game briefing with the media.

"I don't feel any different than I ever have," Francona said. "The organization not only has the right, but it's their obligation to get the right person they think is the best, if at some point they think it needs to be somebody else. Other than that, I think it's disrespectful to spend one waking moment thinking about my situation. We need to win games.

"If I spent any energy on me, that would be a disservice to the organization.''

Later, Epstein addressed the matter in the dugout.

"There is no disconnect between me and Tito, he said I think anyone whos been around the club on a daily basis can see that. We talk several times a day. We spend a ton of time together. I was in (Franconas office) today, laughing, joking, like I was yesterday, like I was the day before with him. Obviously, less laughing and joking this month than previously because of the way things are going but we're on the same page. For eight years, I've respected him and admired him. I believe the feeling's mutual.

"This is what happens when teams play poorly down the stretch. Theres a tendency to turn a stretch of bad baseball into a soap opera, and were not going to let that happen. Have we played good baseball this month? No. Are there any sort of deeper issues in our personal problems or dramatics around here? No. This is not a soap opera. This is a team that hasnt played well all of a sudden for two or three weeks, and we need to go out and win some games.

"But Tito and I are on the same page. There is not a disconnect.

The Red Sox hold an option on Francona for 2012, worth 4.25 million and another option for 2013 valued at 4.5 million, with buyouts for each year at 750,000.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Rosenthal: 'Some' Sox players question Farrell's leadership, game management

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Rosenthal: 'Some' Sox players question Farrell's leadership, game management

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal ignited a local firestorm when he made a seemingly off-hand comment a few days ago that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Red Sox fired John Farrell this year. (He quickly added he also "wouldn't be surprised" if Farrell stayed on and led the team to the A.L. East title this year, but that got scant mention.)

Today, however, Rosenthal expounded on Farrell and the Sox in a lengthy column on foxsports.com. While acknowledging the team's injuries and beyond-the-manager's-control inconsistencies (in the starting rotation and with the offense), he also ominously added, "The excuses for the Sox, though, go only so far — all teams deal with injuries, and not all of them boast $200 million payrolls. Other issues also have emerged under Farrell . . . "

Farrell, even when he won the 2013 World Series as a rookie manager, was not popular in all corners of the clubhouse. Some players, but not all, believe that he does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say. Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, some more than others.

And then he mentioned two leadership problems:

The first occurred during the Red Sox’s prolonged dispute with the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head, shouted across the field to Machado, 'it wasn’t me,' then told reporters that it was 'definitely a mishandled situation,' without mentioning Barnes or Farrell by name . . . 

The second incident occurred last Saturday, when Farrell engaged in a heated exchange with left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the dugout . . . [Pomeranz's] willingness to publicly challenge Farrell, in an exchange captured by television cameras, offered another indication that the manager and some of his players are not always on the same page.

Hmm.

Farrell addressed the "hot seat" issue Tuesday in an interview with MLB Network Radio.

Rosenthal's piece comes at a time when some of Farrell's harshest local critics are more or less giving him a pass, instead blaming Dave Dombrowski's flawed roster construction for the Sox' early season struggles , , , 

But there has been speculation hereabouts on whether or not Farrell has control of the clubhouse . . . 

Now that Rosenthal has weighed in, that sort of talk should increase.

In the end, Rosenthal makes no prediction on Farrell's future other than to conclude "If Dombrowski senses a change is necessary, he’ll make a change." 

But one prediction that can be made: The should-Farrell-be-fired? debate, which raged at unrealistic levels last year when the Red Sox won the division, isn't going to end anytime soon.