|Francona appears headed back to the dugout in 2013. (US Presswire)|
The next manager of the Cleveland Indians will be Terry Francona, the team announced on Saturday night. A formal announcement will be made Monday at Progressive Field, the team said its one-paragraph statement.
Francona, 53, was an analyst for ESPN this past season but was previously the Red Sox manager from 2004-11. He also managed the Phillies from 1997-2000, but he's best known for his time with Boston.
With the Red Sox, Francona won two American League pennants and two World Series championships, including the 2004 "curse" breaking title.
In his eight years with Boston, Francona went 744-552, making the playoffs five out of eight seasons. The .574 winning percentage was the best for a Red Sox manager with at least 750 games managed, but Francona's time in Boston ended in tumult.
The 2011 Red Sox blew a huge lead in the AL wild-card race after going 7-20 in September. The Red Sox then declined to exercise Francona's option for 2012, ending his tenure as skipper. In the ensuing offseason, a Boston Globe report cited "unnamed team sources" saying there was a feeling Francona's abuse of pain medication and marital troubles caused him to lose control of the team in 2011.
Still, Francona is a widely-respected baseball man, and the Indians can sure use that after this past season.
The Indians were actually in first place as late as June 23 and still had a winning record as late as July 26. From July 26 to the end of the season, though, the Indians completely fell apart, going 18-45. They finished 20 games out in the AL Central.
Francona had earlier said there was a "family feeling" after he met with the Indians. His father, Tito, played for the Indians from 1959-64.