CHICAGO (BVM) – After an underwhelming season for the Chicago White Sox and ongoing health issues for their 77-year-old manager, the announcement of Tony La Russa’s retirement is not a surprise.
Notebook: Tony La Russa expected to announce retirement Monday afternoon as Chicago #WhiteSox manager; potential successor and player changes; Pedro Martinez on #Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara; #Astros front office; more. https://t.co/9jllBAIJXS
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 3, 2022
As disappointing as 2022 was for White Sox fans, the talent remains intact.
The breakout of their 26-year-old ace Dylan Cease and the continued stellar play from cornerstones such as Jose Abreu and Eloy Jiménez gives Chicago something to look forward to in 2023.
Now they just need to bring in the right person to man the ship and get things back on track in the Southside.
These are the best options.
For years, Cairo stuck around the game as a utility man because of his high I.Q. of the game. When he received his first coaching gig with the White Sox, Cairo was already being pegged as a future manager. With La Russa’s health issues down the stretch of the 2022 season, Cairo filled in. While Cairo offers more potential as a manager than a proven track record, the White Sox may opt to go for the opposite traits of their previous hire.
White Sox connections:
The 19-year big league catcher who spent eight years with the White Sox could be the perfect fit for the position. While Pierzynski brings no coaching experience, the personality that he brought to the clubhouse, and currently brings to Fox broadcasts, could be exactly what Chicago needs to guide their young ballclub.
Why not? Guillén helped guide the White Sox to their only World Series title in the past hundred years in 2005 and served as their skipper for eight seasons. He has not managed since his one season with the Marlins in 2012, but White Sox fans are still familiar with him as he does pregame and postgame for NBC Sports Chicago. Not the sexiest hire, but Guillén has proven he is an MLB-caliber manager.
Thome currently wears multiple hats serving a front office role with the White Sox, working as an analyst with MLB Network and is the president of the MLBPAA. While Thome has no coaching experience, in an interview with Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune, he did not rule out the idea of managing one day. With a job opening in his current organization, now could be the time.
It is hard to gauge if Beltran remains a managing candidate for MLB organizations after the Houston Astros scandal. Before that took place, he was a well-respected veteran with a high knowledge of the game. Does he still have that same respect? If he is still being considered, a young manager could be good to connect with the young roster in Chicago.
Other names potentially in the mix:
When Girardi was fired in May by the Philadelphia Phillies, it seemed to be a move of desperation rather than actually believing Girardi was at fault for the result. While the Phillies went out and acquired the likes of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, there was simply not enough defense on the roster. Girardi is still a well-respected manager around the league and will likely get another shot in the manager carousel in the 2022 offseason.
The Los Angeles Angels made the move to fire Maddon not too long after the Girardi firing. To no surprise, it looks like Maddon was not the problem in LA as the Angels continue to struggle despite the nightly spectacles of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. After the Tony La Russa era, the White Sox may opt to stay away from the 68-year-old Maddon. However, Maddon has been known as one of the more innovative minds in the game, so there would likely be a different perception than the one La Russa received.