Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona admitted Thursday that he was as "shocked" as everyone else at the blockbuster trade Boston pulled off involving the centerpieces of his roster last season, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
Speaking on ESPN New York's "The Michael Kay Show," Francona described his reaction to the trade news. "I was shocked," he said. "I mean, I had heard about Beckett being put on waivers, but this time of year, everybody's put on waivers. And then when it escalated to what it did, I was astounded. I mean, I know there's been big trades, but with the money that was involved, I can't imagine more money ever being moved ... at least since I've been around.
He said the shake-up "is probably good for the Red Sox."
"I'm not saying that Beckett, Gonzalez or Crawford were bad for the Red Sox, but it rids them of a lot of commitments to money where they can basically start over. And I think they needed to."
"I think it was pretty obvious they needed to kind of blow it up and have a free start," he said.
He pointed out that the Sox now have a responsibility to pick up "the right free agents" in the offseason.
"And that's not an easy thing to do," he said. "Any time you delve into the free-agent market, it's kind of a crap shoot."
Francona acknowledged that the Red Sox have had a disastrous season. "I know it's been a difficult year all the way around for everybody there," he said.
But he made a point of praising Gonzalez and striking down reports of the veteran first baseman being a possible clubhouse problem, saying, "He's a good kid, and he wants to win real bad. Did he send a text message? I don't know, I wasn't there."