Manager Tony DeFrancesco, who guided the Fresno Grizzlies to a Triple-A National championship in 2015 as well as three straight winning seasons, will not return next year.
DeFrancesco, 54, has elected to seek baseball work elsewhere rather than remain in the parent club Houston Astros organization for an eighth year, having long wanted and waited to coach or manage in the majors.
“I enjoyed the city of Fresno and the front office folks and all of those who made me feel welcome,” DeFrancesco said in an interview Wednesday with The Bee. “It was a great opportunity being with the Astros. Seven years with one organization is a long time.
“Now it’s time to see what else is out there.”
DeFrancesco’s contract is set to expire in October.
13 Seasons Tony DeFrancesco has spent managing in Triple-A, including the past three with the Fresno Grizzlies
The longtime Triple-A manager said he’d prefer to work in the majors next season, though he’d be open to a roving instructor job in the minors.
DeFrancesco finished 234-194 overall during his Grizzlies tenure – the Fresno franchise’s most successful stretch in its 20-year history.
“We are forever grateful to Tony DeFrancesco for his contributions to the latest chapter of professional baseball in Fresno,” the Grizzlies wrote in a news release.
DeFrancesco has managed 23 seasons in all in the minors, including the 13 seasons managing in Triple-A and half of the 2012 season managing in the majors while overseeing the Astros.
He owns a 1,648-1,441 overall record as a manager.
“We are very thankful to Tony for his contributions to the Astros organization,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a prepared statement released by the team. “He has had a long, successful career as a manager and played a key role in the efforts to rebuild our minor league system over the past few years. We wish him the very best in the future.”
In addition to missing the Fresno front office staff, Grizzlies fans and Chukchansi Park, DeFrancesco said what he’ll miss most about Fresno are his mornings spent at the Cyclebar in northeast Fresno and taking hot yoga classes.
I had fun in Fresno. And that first year in Fresno when we won the championship will always be special.
Tony DeFrancesco on his time in Fresno
“It’s always tough leaving when you’ve spent a long time with a front office and major league staff,” DeFrancesco said. “I had fun in Fresno. And that first year in Fresno when we won the championship will always be special.”
Bye, bye Tony D
TONY DEFRANCESCO YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORD WITH THE FRESNO GRIZZLIES
- 2017: 77-65
- 2016: 73-70
- 2015: 84-59 (won Triple-A National championship and Pacific Coast League title)