Indians kicking Terry Francona's tires

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Thursday morning, the Cleveland Indians fired manager Manny Acta. Thursday afternoon, the rumors about his replacement started flying. And the biggest name yet is Terry Francona, until recently considered one of the best active managers in the sport.

Ken Rosenthal:

Terry Francona is a candidate for the Cleveland Indians’ managerial opening, according to major-league sources.

The biggest question is whether he will want the job.

Sources say that Francona, 53, already has had preliminary contact with the Indians, the team for whom he worked as a special assistant in 2001.

Preliminary contact ... What does that mean, anyway? Preliminary to what? Actual contact?

Maybe we can assume there has been contact between Francona's agent and Indians management, but nobody's sat down for an interview yet. But if you're running a baseball team and you're looking for a new manager, you sorta have to include Francona in the process. Considering, you know, he won a couple of World Championships. Also, he seems like a pretty sharp fellow on ESPN.

Of course there are all sorts of caveats, which Rosenthal explores in some depth. But if you have to bet on who's going to be the Indians' next manager, the smart money's probably on Terry Francona.

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