11:35 pm: Francona will ask the Red Sox to decline his option years, reports Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. A Major League source tells Van Schouwen that Francona "has had his fill of the whole thing" in Boston and wishes to leave.
11:10 pm: Terry Francona is likely on his way out as the manager of the Boston Red Sox, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Francona is scheduled to meet with team management on Friday.
Rosenthal's sources say that it isn't completely certain that Boston will cut ties with Francona, but "it is the likely outcome, in part because he is pressing for a resolution" as to whether or not the Sox will pick up the option years on the manager's contract. The two-year option pickup would pay Francona $8.75MM over the next two seasons, but it seems like Boston will instead pay Francona the $0.75MM buyout. As Rosenthal notes, Francona would be immediately free to go elsewhere, and he cites the Cubs and White Sox as potential suitors.
Francona's departure would put the exclamation point on Boston's unlikely September meltdown. Just three weeks ago it seemed like a lock that Francona's option years would be exercised and he would remain the Red Sox manager for years to come. The club's stunning collapse down the stretch, however, sealed Francona's fate, particularly when stories surfaced of Francona feeling "bulletproof" about his job security and Peter Gammons' claim of "an increasing disconnect" between Francona and Theo Epstein.
In eight years as Boston's manager, Francona has a 744-552 record, reaching the playoffs five times and winning two AL pennants. Though his tenure with the team may have ended on a sour note this September, Francona will always be a legendary figure in Red Sox history for managing the club to World Series championships in 2004 and 2007.