Francona's deal extended through '08

Red Sox extend Francona's deal

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox announced Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with manager Terry Francona on a two-year contract extension which will carry Francona through the 2008 season.

Francona was in the third year of a three-year deal, with a club option for 2007. The new contract supersedes the option year of the previous pact.

"I'm very pleased," Francona said. "I'm very appreciative, for a lot of reasons. The way the organization handled it. I hope that I think I have my priorities in order. For something like this to happen, you have to have a great organization, great players, and I've been blessed to be around both.

"It was handled so, not only professionally but comfortably, because I'm not very good at being in an adversarial position against the organization. It was very comfortable and I felt like it was 'we' the whole way, and I was very, very appreciative."

General manager Theo Epstein said the extension was in recognition of the work Francona has done in his two years managing the Sox.

Francona, 46, became the 44th manager of the Red Sox on Dec. 4, 2003. In his first season in the job, he led the team to its first World Series championship since 1918.

In his two years, he has brought the Sox to the postseason both seasons and won at least 95 games both years. He has won more games (193) in his first two years than any other manager in club history. Among managers who have spent more than one season leading the Sox, Francona ranks third in winning percentage at .596.

"It was never really a question for us," Epstein said. "He's done an outstanding job from Day 1 when he got here. We're very proud of him. I think as great a job as he did in 2004, we feel he's even grown on the job and getting better and more confident in this role every day.

"We look at him as a mainstay of the organization, part of the solution to problems instead of part of the problem. It made all the sense in world to give him and the organization some security, reinforce the notion that he is a part of the leadership group here. All the players all feel that way. The front office feels that way. It made sense to get it done now."

Francona said that after discussing a possible extension during the winter with president/CEO Larry Lucchino, he had dinner with Lucchino, Epstein, principal owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner in Florida about a week before Spring Training games began. Francona said he consulted his agent throughout the process but dealt directly with the team himself, and with Epstein in particular, since the dinner.

The contract was signed at about 12:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday at City of Palms Park, before the team's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

"I was going to the bathroom," Francona said. "Theo walked it in. That's when you got a pretty good relationship. When your general manager can come and hand it to you while you're on the toilet, you got a pretty good relationship."

Francona, who moved with his family to the Boston area in August, said relocating was a decision he made with his wife, Jacque, and their four children, and represents his dedication to the organization.

"I just think that showing a commitment to the organization is important," he said. "Being able to walk in [the office] in the winter even to say hello. I don't believe in managing and going home. I don't believe you can do the job correctly and do it any other way."

Financial terms of the contract were not released, but The Providence Journal reported Tuesday that Francona's salary, with performance bonuses for postseason accomplishments, will be increased dramatically. His previous contract -- $1.65 million over three years -- was considered to be on the lower end of the pay scale for big-league managers.

"You guys obviously have not seen my wardrobe," quipped Francona. "There are some things in life I really care about. I want to put my kids through school. If I get my Nikes once a year, they cost about $64. There are other priorities."

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.