Julien: I'll be a fan of Francona's wherever he goes


Julien: I'll be a fan of Francona's wherever he goes

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Claude Julien is a member of the Boston sports coaching fraternity, and he truly earned his place after leading his hockey club to a Stanley Cup championship last June.

Julien talked about the support he received from the other coaches in Boston, and Sox manager Terry Francona on more than one occasion asked me to pass along the message to Julien that he liked his coaching style and appreciated the way he went about his business.

It was pretty clear the words of encouragement and praise meant something to the Bs coach, and he said Saturday morning that he planned to reach out to the Sox skipper after Francona was removed from his managing duties at Fenway on Friday. Julien caught some of the press conferences and heard the same things that everyone has around Boston when it comes to differences with ownership -- and perhaps some of his players.

Julien said he empathized with Francona, and it hit close to home for the Bs coach because the two men had very similar styles when it comes to running their individual teams.

The one thing I know is that the job that Francona has done here is tremendous, said Julien. Two World Series and the way hes conducted himself through everything, Im going to be a fan of his no matter where he ends up. I know hes going to end up somewhere. I like the way hes handled his group.

In certain ways Im a lot like him as far as trusting your players and showing them the respect that they deserve. You give them as much leash as they can take. Youve got to give them that opportunity to lead the way. Im not big on throwing players under the bus and he never has.

Juliens job came under fire last season when the Bruins were battling consistency in the middle of the year coming off the playoff collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers, and there was probably a time when he might have thought hed be long gone from Boston prior to Francona. After all, Julien and his staff were likely one Game 7 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round away from their pink slips, and it sounded as the Bs coach would have handled things the very same way as Francona had that day come.

"It was interesting last night to really listen to him because there were a lot of things that I could see myself saying, Julien said. Hes a gentlemen thats well respected hes going to take the high road. That was pretty obvious. I have nothing but tremendous respect for him for what hes accomplished and how hes deal with tough times.

Though the NHL is renowned for high turnover in their coaching ranks, it doesnt look like the Bs coach, thats won both a Jack Adams Award and a Stanley Cup during his highly successful four-year run in Boston, has anything to worry about anytime soon.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.