After Letting It Digest, I Absolutely LOVE The Pedro Grifol Hire
The White Sox have found their new manager. He goes by Pedro Grifol. I'm figuring out a nice play on Napoleon Dynamite's "Vote 4 Pedro" quote to throw on a shirt and unapologetically shove down Sox fans' throats to line my pocket. But it's a work in progress at this moment, so we have to wait until something creative pops into my brain. I'll keep you all posted.
I will start by saying this:
I didn't give a shit who they named manager. Didn't care if it was Cairo, didn't if they named TLR as his own successor, or if they named my dog Ace manager. My only 'want' of the organization was for them to scour the bowels of the entire league to find their guy. So long as they did that, I didn't really care who it was. All I wanted was them to perform due diligence, and lots of it.
After Pedro Grifol's intro presser yesterday, that wish has been granted.
Hahn said there was 22ish initial candidates from all walks of life and from all corners of baseball who made their initial list. THANK YOU BASEBALL GODS!!! Every Sox fan and their mother - Hahn specifically and especially, if we're reading body language - was sick and fucking tired of someone from "in the family" getting the White Sox managerial job. It had been 30 years (!!!), which is almost the entirety of my mediocre life, that someone without at least tangential ties to the White Sox have been named manager.
For that I - and you - are happy. Or at least you should be. Oh, and don't talk shit about Grifol being with KC and not getting their head gig. I know nuance doesn't exist on the internet, but there are reasons outside of Grifol's control to why he wasn't named KC's manager, but he STILL almost got that gig, in spite of new ownership bringing the guy they already had earmarked when they took over.
Nevertheless, I am happy and you should be too. Sincerely. Grifol might not have been your preference, and that's okay, but you should be happy with how they landed on him. I personally couldn't not be more satisfied with their process with this thing. Now, that is not to say it will work - far from it - but if it doesn't, we can look back and at least say their process was correct. It's incredibly refreshing saying that.
Let's take a look at some specifics now. I would first direct EVERYONE to listen to the podcast below to get a feel for both Pedro Grifol the dude and Pedro Grifol the baseball guy:
Hearing Grifol talk about the importance of the home run, the stupidity of the bunt, the blend of both feel/instinct and analytics should be welcomed by Sox fans with open arms. I don't know what the reason was for the White Sox lack of home runs this year. Could have been MLB fucking with baseballs constantly. Could have been due to the prior staff's preference of contact/small ball to HRs. Could have been bad luck. It
could have been had a lot to do with injury. No idea. What I do know is the core has WAY too much power potential to not be dropping dick on the ball on the reg.
All of these guys have 25+ HR potential:
- Eloy (I'll put a $100 future on him to win the HR title every year as long as he's in the league)
None of those guys came close this year for whatever reason, and that was their number 1 issue last season BY FAR. I'm not going to look, but pretty sure the White Sox led MLB in both hits and avg., but were middling in power and runs scored. Most of their hits were of the "empty" variety. Single here, double there... then stranded. You know how hard it is to string 3-4-5 hits together off big league pitching? It's fucking insanely difficult. That's why you need those big ol' fat bomb pieces and need lots of them to win games and win lots of them.
On this specific note - Grifol is apparently bringing a dude by the name of Mike Tosar cat with him as the club's new hitting coach. After reading that sentence, you should be asking yourself, "who in the fuck is Mike Tosar?". That'd be appropriate, and exactly what popped into my head when I heard his name.
But after asking around, Tosar is the dude who helped unlock both Salvy Perez' and Jorge Soler's power potential in recent years for KC as a hitting consultant.
Those two guys have had seasons with near 50 HRs in recent years. If Tosar can sink his meaty paws and really, truly unlock the power potential of the Sox players I listed above, they might hit a billion HRs next year. I know for a FACT through someone "in the know" that Jorge Soler's 48 bomb season was at least somewhat because of Tosar. There are also ample anecdotes people can find on the internet of the drill work Tosar did with Salvy to help him unlock his HR potential.
Love love LOVE that.
The Sox now have two new-aged, young, biomechanics driven coaches in the dugout working with both the pitching staff (Ethan Katz) and offense (Tosar). Again, it's incredibly refreshing that the org is catching up with the times, or - dare I say - getting guys that are AHEAD of the times.
Here's to hope! Just like the great Andy Dufresne said, “Remember... hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." At this juncture, I am once again hopeful. That's all I feel like we can really ask for at this juncture.
For more info on Tosar, read the article in the Tweet below:
Moving forward, this quote also struck a cord with me:
Tony wasn't up to speed on the current rules of MLB. That's why you saw fucking Liam Hendricks pinch running in a game that went into extras last year, for instance.
He's also got a little bit of the "loose cannon" gene, as I like to call it:
Out are the days of a geriatric manager scooting out of the dugout to confront an opposing catcher. In are the days of a manager about to decapitate an umpire just for decapitating umpire's sake.
Don't take any of this from me though; take it from a former player:
I also know Whit Merrifield's agent and am trying to get him on the horn to give us a true inside scoop of what it was like working with both Grifol and Tosar.
All in all, at the very least all of the "right things" were said yesterday. I ran two polls on the topic, one after the hire was originally broken:
And one after yesterday's intro presser:
As you can see, the White Sox fanbase is largely happy right now and it's because Hahn and Grifol both said all the "right things" yesterday, for lack of better descriptors. Grifol stated there will be a reliance on playing "winning" baseball, which is something the White Sox have not played over the last 1.5 years. That doesn't mean winning baseball games; it means playing clean defensively. Hitting cuts. Taking extra bases. Not being morons on the bases. You don't have to have "talent" to play winning baseball. Playing winning baseball, to me, is controlling what you yourself can control. After that, hopefully the White Sox talent takes over and their "winning baseball" translates into "winning a SHIT TON of baseball games".
I know we're all sour after 2022. We should be. But that doesn't mean the White Sox talent has been zapped from them like they're Charles Barkley and Shawn Kemp in Space Jam. If they can get back to being the young, hungry team we saw in 2020 and the first half of 2021 and they play to their true talent, they're the best team in the division…
…And I really think Grifol will be the guy to get that out of them. As it stands right now, I love the hire. I love how they performed due diligence, took their time, and found their guy. Again, it might not work. But as a gambling man, I would wager that it will. Now the next 3 months are on my good friend Rick (Hahn). Time for him to augment this roster and reset this thing, and hopefully he has full autonomy to build it as he sees fit instead of having a billion cooks in the kitchen.
The "championship window" is still open. I'm back in. Let's fucking RIDE!!!
We had a lengthy discussion on the hire on this week's Red Line Radio. Give it a listen, and as always, subscribe to Barstool Chicago's YouTube channel: