May 27, 2016

Partly sunny

Sandy Alomar, Terry Francona in mix, but Indians plan ‘extensive search’ for next manager

CLEVELAND — Sandy Alomar may be a strong candidate to land the Indians’ managerial job on a full-time basis, but he has company.

A day after the team fired Manny Acta and replaced him with Alomar on an interim basis, general manager Chris Antonetti acknowledged that former Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst Terry Francona is also a candidate.

Antonetti said both Alomar and Francona would be interviewed for the position, with the Indians expected to add other candidates from prospective teams around the majors.

“The search will be extensive,” Antonetti said. “Now, how many people we end up formally interviewing may be less than the last time. We feel like the two we’ve publicly identified are both very strong candidates for the position.”

Both candidates have Indians ties, though Alomar’s are the most extensive and recent.

He spent the majority of his 18-year playing career in Cleveland (1990-2000) as one of the Indians’ most popular players during the team’s glory days in the 1990s.

He returned to Cleveland as part of Acta’s staff in 2010 and has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach.

The 53-year-old Francona, who told The Associated Press he is interested in the job, also played for Cleveland in 1988 and spent a year as a special assistant to general manager Mark Shapiro in 2000. His father Tito is a member of the Indians’ 100 greatest players roster, playing for Cleveland from 1959-64.

Alomar, 46, has the job for the next five games and he’s not looking any further than that right now.

“I can’t look at what’s going to happen six days from now,” Alomar said. “Right now, I just have to focus on these next six days. Whether it’s a try out or not, I’m excited. We’ll see what transpires after this.”

Francona has a decided edge in managerial experience. He filled the position in Philadelphia from 1997-2000 before guiding the Red Sox to two World Series titles from 2004-2011.

Alomar has only interviewed for big league manager jobs with the Cubs, Red Sox and Blue Jays.

“I feel like I understand the game very well,” Alomar said. “There’s no one particular manager style. I have a good relationship with the players because I like to communicate. The closer you are to the game, you have an idea of how the players think. I feel like I’ve coached enough.”

“We have full confidence in Sandy,” Antonetti said. “We expect him to be a candidate because of our respect for him. I think Sandy is an exceptional leader. He’s very well respected amongst the players in the clubhouse both as a player and as coach.”

Indians players offered their support of Alomar.

“He’s built up a good (relationship) the last couple years,” closer Chris Perez said. “The baseball side of it, you don’t catch in the big leagues all that time and not know anything about the game. That’s why so many catchers become managers. He was practically born into the big leagues. I don’t think you’re going to find any kind of falloff baseball-wise.”

“He has a lot of respect and he has a very good relationship with everyone on the team,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said of Alomar. “I think guys would be excited.”

None more than Alomar, who called it his dream job.

“I’ve never been treated the way I’ve been treated here,” Alomar said. “Let me say this about the Cleveland Indians, (players) used to harass me all the time to cut the cord. It’s the place that I had success. I feel like I also had a lot of learning experiences here. That’s something that always lingered in my heart.

“If it happens that the organization feels like it’s my time, then, yes, it would be great. If they feel it’s not my time, I can understand. Nobody owes me anything. Nobody owes me anything in life. You get paid for what you do, and if they make a different decision, then I respect what they decide.”

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or Fan him on Facebook
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About Chris Assenheimer

Award-winning sportswriter Chris Assenheimer has covered the Indians since 1997. Prior to that, he also covered Ohio State football and basketball. He's a graduate of (Bay Village) Bay High School and The Ohio State University, and can be reached at 329-7137 or Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.