chris antonetti indians

Indians GM Chris Antonetti gets vote of confidence after firing Manny Acta

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Last month Indians general manager Chris Antonetti told reporters that Manny Acta would be back as manager next season. And then yesterday Antonetti fired Acta.

That alone makes it pretty tough to place much weight in anything the Indians say about hiring and firing at this point, but yesterday Antonetti got a vote of confidence from upper management. Presumably it means more than the vote of confidence Acta got from Antonetti.

Here’s what team president Mark Shapiro–who was the GM before moving upstairs in 2010–said about going forward with Antonetti:

We obviously look at a broad range of criteria when we’re evaluating everybody. Chris is dealing with a set of challenges, which I understand, some of which are the creation of the organization that he and I ran together, and some of which are the result of other decisions.

But I feel he’s controlled the bulk of what he can control well. [Indians CEO Paul Dolan] and I still endorse strongly his vision for how we can be competitive and, ultimately, a championship team. We feel that he’s uniquely qualified and more capable than any other person in leading us to that outcome.

As far as votes of confidence go that’s a good one, I guess, and it’s worth noting that Shapiro was still technically the GM when the Indians hired Acta to a three-year contract following the 2009 season. Shapiro may also feel responsible that some of his final moves as GM didn’t set up Antonetti for immediate success, but whatever the case it seems pretty clear that 2013 will be a make-or-break year for Antonetti in Cleveland.

The White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle’s number this June

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle #56 of the Chicago White Sox waves to the crowd after being tasken out of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Mark Buehrle last pitched in 2015, for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was still pretty effective and toyed with the idea of pitching last season, but he never signed anywhere and is, for all intents and purposes, retired.

Now at least his number will be retired officially. It will be done by the club for which he had the most success and with which he is, obviously, most associated:

Buehrle pitched for the White Sox for 12 years. He was the model of consistency and durability in Chicago, logging over 200 innings a season in every single season but his rookie year, when he was primarily a reliever. He was a solid defender, a multi-time All-Star, tossed a perfect game in 2009 and helped the Chisox to their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.

He was also one of baseball’s fastest workers, so I’m going to assume that, in his honor, the number retirement ceremony will last, like, a minute 20, after which everyone can get on with their dang day.

Terry Francona isn’t sure how long his health will allow him to manage

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.

He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:

“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.

“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”

Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.

With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.