Terry Francona unsure about managing in 2012

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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.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.