As Terry Francona prepares to take at least a year away from baseball, he's pulling for two of his former coaches to land a big-league managerial job.
Francona, the former Red Sox skipper, said Wednesday he withdrew his name from consideration for the Cubs managerial job, leaving Dale Sveum, DeMarlo Hale, Sandy Alomar Jr., Mike Maddux and Pete Mackanin in the running.
Francona knows Sveum and Hale well. Sveum was Francona's third base coach for two seasons under Francona in Boston before moving on to the Milwaukee Brewers.
"Players love him and they should," Francona said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I played with him actually in Milwaukee. He's kind of a players' player. He does things right. He's solid."
The Cubs are reportedly going to speak again with Sveum again during the general managers meetings in Milwaukee this week. Sveum has also interviewed with the Red Sox.
Hale, Francona's bench coach for the past two years after four years as his third base coach, talked with the Cubs by phone about the job. Theo Epstein, his former boss in Boston and the Cubs' new president of baseball operations, has said a formal interview with Hale or Francona wasn't necessary because of their familiarity with each other.
Francona said Hale should be managing in the major leagues.
"I could go on and on [about Hale]. You don't have enough time," Francona said. "When you sit with somebody in the dugout for that amount of time and you go through the ups and downs ... DeMarlo is like a brother to me. He should be managing somewhere. I hope the way our season ended in Boston doesn't hurt his chances because this guy is about as solid as they come."
Epstein said Monday that he would present his final choice to chairman Tom Ricketts and his family. A conclusion for the search appears to be on the horizon for the end of this week, or by early next week at the latest.
Francona said the Cubs are in good hands with Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod.
"You can't guarantee somebody is going to win a World Series but the three guys are going to put the Cubs in a position ... they're intelligent, they're not going to get outworked," Francona said. "What they did in Boston and in San Diego with Jed and Jason, they're going to do everything in their power to put the Cubs organization in the best light. They're very, very intelligent people, and they're not going to get outworked. That's a pretty nice combination."