CLEVELAND -- The Indians have their new manager: Terry Francona. The next step in Cleveland's offseason is identifying the men Francona wants surrounding him as part of the club's coaching staff.
Over the next few days, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti will begin the process of creating a staff with Francona. Both men were scheduled to fly to Arizona on Monday night for the team's organizational meetings this week.
"We'll try to make sure we get the right staff around Terry," Antonetti said on Monday. "They're exceptionally important hires for the organization. Ultimately, they're the ones that are pivotal in helping guys develop and get better at the Major League level."
Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the Indians' interim manager for six games following Manny Acta's dismissal on Sept. 27, has been offered a role on Francona's staff. Francona felt it was important to extend the offer himself after being named Cleveland's manager on Saturday.
Alomar also interviewed for the full-time managerial role.
"Just to be completely candid," Francona said, "because Sandy was a candidate for the job, I reached out to him immediately, just because I thought it was respectful. He's very aware of how I feel about him and his baseball ability and my relationship with him.
"Talking staff other than that is probably not very fair, because you're going to leave somebody's name out."
There has been speculation that Brad Mills -- relieved of his duties as manager of the Astros earlier this season -- might be in the mix for a job with the Indians. Mills was also a part of Francona's coaching staffs in Philadelphia and Boston. Francona would not go into any specifics, except to say he was considering current members of Cleveland's staff, along with other internal and external candidates.
Beyond his six-game interim stint, Alomar has no managing experience, but he has interviewed for jobs with the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs in the past two years. The Indians understand that teams -- Boston and Colorado could be in the mix -- might want to interview Alomar for a managerial role this offseason as well.
"I would expect he'll get other opportunities to interview for a manager's job," Antonetti said. "Sandy has a lot to offer any organization. Selfishly, I'm hopeful that he will stay here, because he's had such a huge impact on us. At the same time, I want what's ultimately best for Sandy."
Francona trusts management regarding payroll
CLEVELAND -- Terry Francona had plenty of questions throughout his interview for the Indians' managerial job. One that never came up prior to his accepting the job was how much money would be available for the team's payroll.
Francona did not see that as his concern.
"I didn't ask for that," Francona said. "I don't want to say it's none of my business, but that wasn't one of the questions. We're going to work together and figure out how to tackle challenges.
"I don't need to be the general manager nor the owner. I'm perfectly content being the manager. I don't know what the payroll is."
Cleveland has operated on a payroll of roughly $65 million or less in each of the past three years, during which the team has posted a 217-269 record. This past season, the Indians went 68-94 and finished in fourth place in the American League Central.
Asked if there would be an increase in payroll this winter, Antonetti simply praised Francona's ability to manage any roster.
"We want to improve," Antonetti said. "But as I've tried to articulate, we think Terry is a very good manager regardless of the specifics of the roster composition. Our goal and our objective is to figure out a way to build the best team we can. That starts with a critical assessment of where we are organizationally."
During his eight-year run as the manager of the Red Sox from 2004-11, Francona helped guide the club to two World Series championships and five postseason berths. In Boston, though, Francona also had one of baseball's largest budgets at his disposal.
"Having a big budget allows you to maybe cover up some of your mistakes," Francona said. "I think that's being kind of frank. So you have to limit your mistakes [with a smaller payroll]. That's about as honest as I can be."
Developing young players also becomes a top priority.
"I know if you put a good baseball team on the field, you can win," Francona said. "By that, I know you have to develop young players. I think that's anywhere. I think that's huge. If you're not a big market, developing young players is huge."
Indians manager Terry Francona spent much of the past two days reaching out to players and personnel within the Cleveland organization. He felt that was integral in the process of forging a bond with his new team.
"I'm getting up to speed in a hurry," Francona said. "But I probably need to do more listening in the next few weeks than talking, and learning about our players and what they're about. I've already started trying to reach out to as many as possible to start developing relationships."
Francona was asked if he would talk to players about mistakes made during the past season. As an example, a reporter cited closer Chris Perez making critical comments about the team and its fans this year.
"This is a clean slate for everybody," Francona said. "For guys that did well, I'm aware. For guys that are maybe trying to atone, this is a clean slate. This is a chance for everybody. This is a good thing. I would never judge somebody on what they did in the past."
Francona laughed when asked if the smaller media landscape in Cleveland was attractive to him, considering he spent his previous two managerial stints in Philadelphia and Boston.
"No, I didn't come here to go to pasture," Francona said. "I was either going to work here or go back and work at ESPN. I came here again, because I'm not afraid of a challenge, and the people here that I'm doing it with. I thought I was treated very well by the media in Boston."
Quote to note
"It's the first important step. Obviously, we needed to make sure we got the right leader in place for our team and organization moving forward. That was our first priority. We feel Terry will be a very successful manager regardless of what decisions we make."
--Indians general manager Chris Antonetti