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

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

BOSTON -- Until next Wednesday, major league teams can add to their rosters and have the new additions still be eligible for postseason play.

But don't expect the Red Sox to do any serious upgrading.

The bullpen could sorely use some reinforcements, but the difficulty of obtaining help at this time of year -- when players changing teams must first clear waivers -- is problematic.

Asked recently the odds of the Sox making a deal to bolster the team's relief group, an industry source reponded: "Pretty slim.''

The source went on to say that any relievers of value have been routinely "blocked'' -- i.e., claimed by a team before being pulled back by the original club.

The few relievers who have successfully cleared waivers -- including Oakland's Ryan Madson and Chicago's David Robertson -- are those with multiyear commitments that extend beyond this season.

And just because the likes of Madson and Robertson have cleared waivers doesn't guarantee they're necessarily available. At this time of the year, teams routinely send their players through waivers to provide them with flexibilty and to determine the level of interest for deals in the off-season.

In the case of Robertson, the Red Sox would be taking on $25 million in future salary for 2017 and 2018 for a pitcher who would not be serving as their closer. The Sox control Craig Kimbrel for two more seasons, with a guaranteed contract for 2017 and a team option for 2018.

One major-league executive noted that teams are often reluctant to take on a reliever with a multiyear contract, since the existence of a future commitment could restrict a team in terms of usage.

Better to have a player on an expiring deal, the executive suggested, with no worries about future obligations.

It's still possible that the Sox could acquire Jonathan Papelbon, whose case has gone cold in the past week. Only 10 days ago, reports had Papelbon ready to sign within 24 hours with one of the handful of clubs expressing an interest in him.

But since then, Papelbon hasn't been heard from. One source indicated that Papelbon's interest in signing elsewhere may be impacted by a family situation.

Whatever the reason, the longer Papelbon goes without signing somewhere, the tougher it is to imagine him having much impact. 

Papelbon last pitched for the Washington Nationals on Aug. 6, three weeks ago. He would need some time on a minor-league assignment in order to be major league-ready for the final month.

And while Papelbon would enjoy returning to the familiarity of Boston, he's not close to the same pitcher that he was when he left after 2011. Indeed, Papelbon isn't even the same pitcher he was in his final two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Red Sox, reduced to matching up night after night in the eighth inning, would still welcome him back. But there are other options to upgrade a porous bullpen, options that would seem to make the odds of a Papebon-Red Sox reunion negligible.