Francona not surprised by interest in Shapiro

Francona not surprised by interest in Shapiro

NEW YORK -- Indians manager Terry Francona has made it no secret that he came to Cleveland largely due to his relationship with general manager Chris Antonetti and team president Mark Shapiro. Given the kind of communication that group has established, Francona was not caught off guard by the speculation about Shapiro's future.

Before a report came out Thursday night indicating that Shapiro is a "strong candidate" to replace outgoing Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston, Francona and other staff members had already been looped in on the situation by the Indians' president.

"Mark had given us a heads-up, so the report didn't send shockwaves," Francona said prior to Friday's game against the Yankees. "But, other than that, it's just nothing to comment on. First of all, it's Mark's business, and there's nothing that's happened. We'll wait and see."

Shapiro declined comment when reached by MLB.com on Thursday night.

Francona was hired as Cleveland's manager prior to the 2013 season, and following the '14 campaign, he signed an extension that runs through 2018 and has club options for '19 and '20. While the specifics are not entirely clear, included in Francona's deal is language that would allow him to opt out should Shapiro or Antonetti no longer be part of the Indians' front-office structure.

Discussing the matter on Friday, Francona said he simply hopes Shapiro finds success, no matter where his career path takes him.

"From a personal standpoint," Francona said, "because I like him so much, I hope he -- whether it's in Cleveland or Tokyo -- I hope he's doing whatever is fulfilling to him, because that's how you feel when you care about people. I think I have to limit [my comments] to that now, because of where it's at or where it isn't at. I don't know."

Shapiro initially joined the Indians in 1992 and steadily worked his way up the organizational ladder. He served as the team's farm director from '93-98, worked as an assistant GM from 1999-2000 and the GM of the club from '01-10. In 2009, Shapiro was also named to the Commissioner's committee for on-field matters. As team president, Shapiro has helped oversee sweeping renovations of Progressive Field over the past year.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.