Speaking publicly for the first time since exiting as Boston’s manager, Terry Francona touched on several subjects Wednesday on WEEI, saying that he would have stayed with the Red Sox had his options been picked up and that he’s unsure about his status for 2012.
On his departure:
I have to own a lot of the responsibility for what happened. It was my responsibility to not let what happened happen. So regardless of how ownership feels or regardless of how (general manager) Theo (Epstein) feels or how the fans feel, I had a responsibility to get something done and it didn’t get done. …
Maybe it was just time. It certainly hurts. Some things I felt like was able to get done in the past, I wasn’t able to quite get done this year, especially at the end. That bothered me, a lot.
On his plans for 2012:
I don’t know, guys. I really don’t know. I certainly would love to stay in the game. I have no ambition to ever leave the game. … I don’t want to try to manage in the wrong situation. That wouldn’t be good for me. To manage again, you have to have someone think you’re worthy to manage. That may not happen. It may happen down the road. Who knows? What I need to do is try to take a deep breath, try to have some perspective right now. That’s not the easiest thing to do
Francona also talked about getting a phone call from Manny Ramirez after his departure was announced:
Actually, Manny called me. How ‘bout that? I was very surprised. It was actually a very nice message and I appreciated it a lot.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.