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Tito Francona gets his deal

Kudos + congrats to the even-keeled Sox manager:

FORT MYERS, Fla. - With two World Series titles behind him and a clubhouse full of players always ready to sing his praises, manager Terry Francona has reached an agreement on a three-year, $12 million contract extension with the Red Sox that takes him through the 2011 season.

The Sox have the option to add two more years, bringing the potential total value of the package to $20 million, or an average of $4 million a year. The two option years must be exercised together after the 2011 season. If the options are not exercised, Francona receives a $750,000 buyout, guaranteeing him an average payout of $4 million over the three years.

The $4 million mark is a significant one, placing Francona just behind Joe Torre of the Dodgers (a reported 3 years, $13 million) at the highest level of the managerial salary scale.

"It was important for Tito to be recognized as one of the top two or three managers in the game," said Francona's agent, Pat Rooney, of negotiations that concluded Saturday night, with general manager Theo Epstein informing the players of Francona's new deal before yesterday morning's workout.

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