Francona trusts management regarding payroll

Francona trusts management regarding payroll

Francona trusts management regarding payroll
CLEVELAND -- Terry Francona had plenty of questions throughout his interview for the Indians' managerial job. One that never came up prior to his accepting the job was how much money would be available for the team's payroll.

Francona did not see that as his concern.

"I didn't ask for that," Francona said. "I don't want to say it's none of my business, but that wasn't one of the questions. We're going to work together and figure out how to tackle challenges.

"I don't need to be the general manager nor the owner. I'm perfectly content being the manager. I don't know what the payroll is."

Cleveland has operated on a payroll of roughly $65 million or less in each of the past three years, during which the team has posted a 217-269 record. This past season, the Indians went 68-94 and finished in fourth place in the American League Central.

Asked if there would be an increase in payroll this winter, Antonetti simply praised Francona's ability to manage any roster.

"We want to improve," Antonetti said. "But as I've tried to articulate, we think Terry is a very good manager regardless of the specifics of the roster composition. Our goal and our objective is to figure out a way to build the best team we can. That starts with a critical assessment of where we are organizationally."

During his eight-year run as the manager of the Red Sox from 2004-11, Francona helped guide the club to two World Series championships and five postseason berths. In Boston, though, Francona also had one of baseball's largest budgets at his disposal.

"Having a big budget allows you to maybe cover up some of your mistakes," Francona said. "I think that's being kind of frank. So you have to limit your mistakes [with a smaller payroll]. That's about as honest as I can be."

Developing young players also becomes a top priority.

"I know if you put a good baseball team on the field, you can win," Francona said. "By that, I know you have to develop young players. I think that's anywhere. I think that's huge. If you're not a big market, developing young players is huge."