Last night, I watched the entirety of the Tony LaRussa and Rick Hahn's end of season press conference. You can do the same here:
There's a lot to unpack. Basically, Rick Hahn said they are looking for the same guy they said they were looking for prior to hiring Tony LaRussa: a new aged mind that has been in the dugout on a recent championship contending club. Hmmmm.... okay. That makes all the sense in the world. Truly. But you gotta fucking do it this time instead of turning around and trying to right a 40 year old wrong by hiring a dude of the TLR mold.
In this instance and this instance only, I trust the White Sox will do that.
Anyways, who's going to be at the helm next year and beyond was the forefront of the press conference. One thing I'd like to note is that Tony said there was a second health issue he's dealing with that had nothing to do with getting his pacemaker fixed a few weeks back. I hope it's nothing serious and that he has a quick recovery.
Nevertheless, onto the manager. Who's it going to be? Could be anyone, from AJ Pierzynski to Bruce Bochy. I'm very on record as saying a manager SHOULDN'T really matter in baseball. If you're the Dodgers, any asshole reading this could manage them to 100 wins. Maybe not LaRussa, but any halfwit leaving a smart ass remark in the www.barstoolsports.com comment section could. The less a manager has to do, the better a team is performing, typically.
But let's see what White Sox players have to say:
At a glance it's a whatever comment. At least the first part is. But then I read it again and think to myself, "ummmm wtf?" You're telling me a group of 26+ PROFESSIONALS need someone to crack a whip to keep them in check and play hard? Did I read that correctly? Is Liam Hendriks talking about 1 of 30 MLB teams, or some HS team that got caught getting boozed up on a Friday night before a Saturday AM game?
Sure sounds like the latter to me, and that is fucked up. Tony had to go, that part is obvious, but my GOD… if any MLB team, let alone player, needs some authoritarian to come in and start barking orders to get certain guys to perform, then the guys he's barking orders at shouldn't be a pro athlete, plain and simple. If I'm Hahn, I identify the players that are "dogs" (in a bad way) and doing anything in my power to get rid of them. Make them someone else's problem. No idea who those players are or if they even exist, but if they do, GET RID OF THEM.
Build a winning culture. Not a losing culture. Talent be damned.
That's my $0.02 on that, anyways. Then again, let's play devil's advocate… I typically dislike playing arm chair psychologist and anything like that, but it's crystal clear just watching this team on TV over the last 160 games that they have too many guys on the team that are both baseball dumb and lazy. Maybe an authoritarian will come in and fix that? Clean up the missed cuts, the bad base running, sure up the defense, and most importantly get these guys to perform to their expected potential on both sides of the ball.
Looking at you, Moncada.
We'll find out what path they decide to take though. Hahn specifically said it was going to be a different process than it was when they hired both Ricky Renteria and TLR. That they're gonna actually search far and wide for their next leader. Who that is, we'll find out.
From what I've personally heard of Willie Harris makes him my guy. He can listen to the analytics team in constructing lineups and shit, which is the easy part. The hard part is getting these guys to buy into a winning culture, something that waved bye-bye this year. From everything I've heard, Willie Harris is that leader. That's not to say he's the only guy whose name we'll hear that fits that mold, but he's at least one guy who does and the one guy I've heard "this is that dude" about.
Going to be a LONG winter. Especially when they're already crying poor:
I'll get into this MUCH more on Red Line this week… but the extensions issued to Moncada, Robert, Eloy, Anderson and as far back as Sale, Quintana, and Eaton were all PLAYER FRIENDLY deals. The white sox didn't need to pay those guys as much as they did before they were free agents. Obviously the hit rate was 100% through Anderson. All those pre-arb extensions worked out wonderfully.
Moncada, Eloy and Robert? Not great returns on the investment thus far. When those contracts don't work out and you're paying guys WAY more than they'd be receiving going through the standard arbitration processes, the best way to hedge against a bust like Moncada is to spend over him. You're not going to get shit for Moncada on the trade market right now, as he's do $40MM+ over the next two seasons, and almost $70MM if his club option is picked up in 2025. They'd be selling low on him and that's not how you build winning clubs.
The TL/DR of the last paragraph is this: Moncada hasn't worked out. Robert and Eloy can't stay healthy. Just because they're becoming more expensive doesn't mean you cry poor when you're hellbent on championships like you say you are. That means you go and try to buy the best free agents possible, which should be the case regardless of bad contracts or not. We've seen that movie with the white sox before though and shouldn't expect them to do that. Because Jerry Reinsdorf.
There is so much to fix this winter. SO MUCH. It's going to be a fucking BRUTAL 3 months. Zap my brain and wake me up when pitchers and catchers report. Thanks.
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