Terry Francona says he won’t use opt-out clause with Indians for “leverage”

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Indians manager Terry Francona has the ability to opt out of his contract if team president Mark Shapiro or general manager Chris Antonetti were to leave the organization. With Shapiro reportedly a “strong candidate” for the team president job with the Blue Jays, there has been quite a bit of speculation about Francona’s future in recent days. He attempted to clear up the situation on Friday.

According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, Francona said that the opt-out clause was added as protection and that he doesn’t intend to use it as leverage.

“That’s the only thing I asked in my contract,” Francona said. “I think sometimes guys get like country club memberships or whatever. I wanted that [clause]. They were nice enough to kind of work with me on that. Since I’ve been here, my relationship with [Shapiro and Antonetti] has certainly grown, but also with the other people here, to the point where, I guess my point is, I would never use that as leverage. That was not the spirit of the way it was written, nor would I use it like that.

“I mean, if Mark’s not here, there’s a time I guess to talk about that, and things like that, but I think part of maybe one of the reasons Mark maybe would even think about leaving is because I think he’s confident that things are in place the way we have worked so hard to do it. So I hope that answers that. The way it was meant, I would honor, and I have no intention of ever using something like that as leverage for another job, because I don’t want to.”

Joe Maddon had a similar clause in his contract with the Rays and exercised it when Andrew Friedman left for the Dodgers. Of course, he quickly latched on with the Cubs from there. There’s always the chance that something could change here, but Francona plans on staying in Cleveland for now.

Francona agreed to a contract extension with the Indians last November which has him signed through 2018. His contract includes club options for 2019 and 2020. He holds a 238-213 record (.528) since taking over as manager in 2013.