As October draws to a close, the Cleveland Guardians are still searching for a new manager to replace Terry Francona. While they've been linked to several candidates (including Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell), nobody has been officially hired to take Francona's spot in the dugout.
Meanwhile, an interesting revelation about Francona has come to light in the process.
According to MLB insider Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Francona was MLB's highest-paid manager in 2023, raking in a cool $4.5 million.
This is notable for a few reasons. One is that managerial contracts are often not common knowledge, or at least not as well known or scrutinized as player salaries.
Another is that it was the Guardians who were footing the bill. As a small-market organization, Cleveland doesn't have deep pockets and is known for penny-pinching. The Guardians ranked 25th in Opening Day payroll for 2023, for instance, so it's notable that the organization was shelling out so much for its manager while generally underpaying its players.
This means that Cleveland should be able to save a few million dollars on its next manager, which should enable the front office to spend a bit more on on-field talent. Francona deserved to be handsomely paid based on his Hall of Fame resume (three pennants, two World Series titles, etc.), but his replacement will likely be far less experienced and accomplished.
Lastly, it's surprising that Francona would walk away from such a salary at the relatively young age of 64. His health problems are well-known, but they must be pretty painful to forfeit such a large paycheck.
Francona's replacement has some big shoes to fill, but shouldn't expect to get paid nearly as much.
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