Francona laughs off Showalter's Theo jab

JUPITER, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona on Thursday morning laughed off Orioles skipper Buck Showalter's pointed criticism of his boss, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.

In an interview with Men's Journal, Showalter, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, questioned Epstein's skill as a general manager, attributing the twice-champion GM's success to a payroll in excess of $200 million.

"I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay [Rays] payroll," Showalter said, according to the Bergen Record.

Francona didn't read the comments, but heard got "the short version" of the story this morning through a Red Sox staffer.

"I got a text that said 'heads up'," he said.

Francona didn't care to respond to the story itself.

"Whatever," Francona said. "For the record, I think Theo's really smart, whether he has a high payroll or not.

"I'll stay away from that."

Francona paused a moment, then added: "I think Theo's proved with his choice of managers that he's pretty smart."