But if he was going back, there was only one team for him.
And when the Cleveland Indians called, Francona was on his way.
“I knew it was right for me,” he said.
Francona, who led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, was introduced Monday as the new manager of the Indians, who crashed in the second half this season after contending for four months. It’s a family reunion of sorts for Francona, who has ties with the Indians stretching back over 50 years.
His father, Tito, played six seasons in Cleveland and Francona spent a year working as an assistant in the Indians’ front office after he was fired by Philadelphia.
Francona signed a four-year contract. He hopes to stay even longer.
“I don’t want to be a rental manager,” he said. “I didn’t want to come in worried. I want to be part of the solution. I want to stick around. I didn’t come here to go to pasture.”
Francona was picked by the Indians over Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the club’s bench coach before taking over as interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was fired on Sept. 27.
Francona is inheriting an Indians team that finished 68-94 and 20 games out of first place in the AL Central.
GIANTS: Will start left-hander Barry Zito if they get to a Game 4 in their NL Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, leaving two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in the bullpen.
ROCKIES: Players who stood by Jim Tracy while the team endured their worst season in franchise history are reiterating their support for him following the manager’s resignation over the weekend.
Left-hander Jeff Francis said he was surprised to hear Tracy had decided to step down, saying in an e-mail: “I loved playing for him and I think everyone did. The Rockies will miss him for sure.”
Former North Augusta star Tyler Colvin tweeted he was “Sad to hear the news about our skipper. It was a privilege to play for such a great manager and such a great person.” He concluded with (hashtag)ClassAct”
DODGERS: Catcher A.J. Ellis had arthroscopic left knee surgery and should be ready at the start of spring training in February.