Podcast: White Sox need new leadership

Record Date: 09/23/2022

Rundown:

  • White Sox fans/media getting angry
  • Cleveland exposing all of the White Sox faults
  • Why the White Sox need new leadership within baseball operations
  • Why it’s not a great idea to have Tony La Russa part of the front office.
  • Tigers series preview
  • MLB Playoff picture
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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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asinwreck

While it was frustrating that Ken Williams and Rick Hahn remained employed after the 2016 fiasco, I supported the rebuild for one reason: Luis Robert, Yoán Moncada, Michael Kopech, Eloy Jiménez, Dylan Cease, Lucas Gilolito, Dane Dunning, and Reynaldo López were young enough that they might mature into a core that would win after Jerry Reinsdorf died.

Let’s be blunt here: I supported the rebuild because I was waiting for Jerry Reinsdorf to die. Jerry Reinsdorf had already proven how poorly he evaluated front office talent. The only way to be optimistic about the future was to imagine prospects maturing under a manager, coaches, GM, and development staff hired by an owner who had some clue about what competent people in those positions might look like (and who didn’t have some Galaxy Brain ideas about what responsible free agent spending looked like).

Instead, Jerry Reinsdorf kept breathing, and kept the team on the same futile path that made Drake LaRoche a clubhouse leader. Where an organization intent on contending would have signed Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, the White Sox signed Yonder Alonso. Instead of hiring Alex Cora or AJ Hinch, the White Sox exhumed Tony La Russa. This 2022 season is as pointless as 2016 or 2012 or 2007 was, and the same management remains in charge under the same owner. It’s the same failure perpetuated by the same failed men.

No. Not the same. it’s worse now. The White Sox have never adapted to best hiring and personnel practices and there is evidence that will haunt this man and his insular corporate culture. The lawsuits involving the Omar Vizquel sexual abuse case and the Brian Ball firing may reveal just how unprofessional Jerry Reinsdorf’s organization is behind the scenes. We already know all too well how unprofessional his team is on the field.

Yet he remains. The “Sell the Team” signs reflect a fan base weary of this weird octogenarian billionaire running an original franchise of the American League like a vanity project for his friends and sycophants. He should feel fortunate the signs do not say what some of us really feel. It will come. Must come. There is no future in this.

BenwithVen

this this this. I couldn’t have said it any better. I’m utterly worn out by this team and organization. I’ve followed this team for like 20+ years and this is the first season where I’ve seriously questioned my fandom.

dwjm3

“weird octogenarian billionaire”

I think you nailed this description. Hiring you buddy because you regretted firing him 30 plus years is probably the weirdest thing I have ever seen an owner do. He surpassed even the strange hiring decisions of Al Davis in his later years.

Last edited 2 months ago by dwjm3
Hulksmash

One of the best posts I’ve ever read. Bravo.

I’ve not been shy about my disgust with this team and organization this year, and I’ve occasionally gotten pushback. But the anger, frustration, and profound disappointment I’ve harbored over the past 6 months are perfectly encapsulated here.

This franchise is utterly broken, and it won’t be repaired until the earth the Sox try to grow from is thoroughly salted and started anew.

ForsterFTOG

22-29 against non-Detroit AL Central teams. I’ll ask Rick Hahn about that at the parade.

soxfan

I once again assert that a crowd-sourced management plan would be more effective than the organization’s current “leadership” team.

Marty34

I never want to hear team friendly contract again because that is what’s at the root of the Sox clubhouse dysfunction. If the Sox are not willing to pay players market value then trade them or let them walk when free agency arrives.

Jeff

I share the gloom and some of the anger at the White Sox performance against Cleveland and during the entire season. The team needs new management. We don’t need Reinsdorf to die or sell the team; he just needs to clean house. My hat’s off to Cleveland though. 15 wins in their last 18 games, including 10 out of 12 against Minnesota and the Sox. The division was there for the taking, and they took it. If the White Sox responded like that, we would be dancing in the streets.

dwjm3

We absolutely need Reinsdorf to sell the team.

He has proven incapable of hiring the right people to run the team. As it is the lines between the front office and him are blurred as he is actively involved in making baseball decisions. A top tier baseball executive will not take the job under his style of management.

Last edited 2 months ago by dwjm3
soxfan

Here’s the problem with saying we don’t need new ownership: it’s impossible to segregate Hahn’s impact from Williams’ or Reinsdorf’s. If Reinsdorf won’t give the new management team any more latitude or autonomy than the old, then it’s not going to change until ownership does.

  • Hiring La Russa is pretty obviously a decision that Reinsdorf is responsible for. Is it Hahn’s predilection to overspend on the bullpen or is he responding to La Russa’s preferences which are supported by Reinsdorf.
  • Reinsdorf is the one on record saying he doesn’t like giving pitchers long-term deals. Could Hahn have sweetened the offer to Wheeler rather than having to settle for Keuchel if La Russa allowed him to run the team?
  • Reinsdorf is the one that’s led the ownership pushback on rising salaries. If he didn’t feel the need to avoid nine-digit deals would Hahn have been allowed to sign Harper or Machado (or both!)?

I’m not saying Hahn is without blame. He’s making mistakes at the margins that presumably Reinsdorf doesn’t care about (Diekman was an unnecessary addition) and I can’t imagine Reinsdorf is dictating injury management and the juggling of the 40-man roster. But who’s responsible for Colas not getting a call up? Could Hahn have started his service clock or has Reinsdorf made clear he didn’t want Colas to be a free agent any sooner than necessary (or at least set a general guideline that minor leaguers with star potential don’t get a call up without cost certainty)? I don’t know and I doubt if anyone else does either.

peanutsNcrackerjack

Hahn has close to $200 million to work with. Aside from the TLR move, I place most of the blame on Kenny/Hahn. They are making the calls on all development/minor league/scout and draft decision makers. The organization is in shambles, wallpapered over by the Cuban connection that has filled a great deal of the core major league talent (though now questionable as to its merit).
Jerry R must be super pissed that Cleveland has a payroll that’s what, $100 million less? That more than anything will be the impetus for Jerry launching Kenny and Rick.

steelydan52

Right. Wishing death on a sports owner because you’re not happy with him is so unhealthy. Jerry should just turn things over to his son Michael and let him deal with it. I have zero problem with Williams, Hahn and La Russa being booted and I do hope for it but I don’t think that’s realistic. And all this leadership talk will end when/if they get the right man for the dugout. Again, Bochy would be my pick and while he’s no spring chicken he’s a lot younger than Tony. Then you’d have a true leader in the dugout. He would figure things out from there. I am tired of guys like Tim Anderson claiming he’s the leader just because he says he is. Having a huge ego does not make you a leader.
Time to clean house, no doubt, but please let’s leave death out of it.
Frankly, my fear is La Russa is booted and Jerry reaches out to Konerko because he gave Jerry the World Series ball. Time to let this blind loyalty go bye bye. It will be interesting to see what the next few months bring.

soxfan

This is like saying, “I’m okay with Jerry Reinsdorf continuing to own the team as long as he stops acting like Jerry Reinsdorf.”

Jerry reaches out to Konerko because he gave Jerry the World Series ball. Time to let this blind loyalty go bye bye.

Newsflash: He’s Jerry Reinsdorf.

steelydan52

Yes but I stated it was just my fear and hopefully not realistic.
Jerry is not going to sell the team and that’s realistic. And maybe his son isn’t a baseball person but if Jerry decides to step aside that’s who it may be. Does Jerry have any other kids in line for anything?

dwjm3

This is part of the scary aspect of where we stand. Jerry is effectively the CEO of the team. If he gets sick tomorrow and is unable to fulfil is duties we don’t even know who is in charge of the team. Is Kenny Williams the head of the team in that scenario?

It is possible a billionaire dollar business will be twisting in the wind if Jerry becomes ill.

steelydan52

Yeah, I think it would be Williams unless the inexperienced Michael steps in even for awhile. I think all the board of directors are pretty old, aren’t they?

steelydan52

Or, God forbid, they move La Russa up at that point. He is like 8 years younger than Jerry. Nah, they wouldn’t do that.

dwjm3

Michael doesn’t belong running the team either. He has zero experience with baseball. The team needs a proper c-suite of executives and Jerry is incapable of identifying them.

Last edited 2 months ago by dwjm3
ForsterFTOG

Big difference between wishing death and pointing out the fact that until he’s gone or dead, nothing will change.

steelydan52

I get that we’re all entitled to our opinion but my comment was based on asinwreck saying he supported the rebuild because he was waiting for Reinsdorf to die. As he said, he was being blunt.
Again, I hope Jerry either sells or turns things over to someone else but I don’t think selling is an option. Just my opinion. Not trying to stir the pot in here.

Qubort

Guys coming up can’t run the bases, play defense, or draw a walk. Either the talent evaluators are overlooking these issues or the people overseeing development aren’t teaching it or (most likely) both are true. The White Sox clearly need an entire overhaul. The talent they do have, they don’t optimize. It’s so sad that we have to hope once Jerry dies, that the next owner will be any better.

Sophist

So much for the Chris Getz effect?

mrridgman

I agree with the general premise that in all likelihood the Sox farm/development system needs serious upgrading, because the rest of their operation is replete with problems; I do think Getz shows some promise, but it can be difficult to flourish in a bad system.
I don’t know which guys coming up that you refer to, but the two best prospects, Colas and Montgomery, can play defense, draw walks and run (at least I think Colson is average+). I won’t opine the rest of the top prospects but I’m not certain it’s fair to paint them all with the same brush.

Qubort

I was thinking of how Romy couldn’t go 1st to third yesterday while rookie Guardians could. I was thinking of how Madrigal was an absolute nightmare on the paths. I was thinking of triple plays occurring because our runners didn’t bother to tag up. I was thinking how only the Tigers walk less than the Sox in all of baseball. I was thinking how we can’t catch a fly ball in the outfield.

I’m sure there will be guys like Montgomery, who can overcome those pitfalls, but that is just because of his talent. The organization does not put their young talent in positions of success.

steelydan52

Don’t the Sox have an assistant GM that we don’t hear about?

ForsterFTOG

I always assumed that it was Rick Hahn.

steelydan52

Funny! I went to their website and looked and the assistant GM is someone by the name of Jeremy Haber. There’s our savior. (tongue in cheek.)

Jim Margalus

Jeremy Haber.

steelydan52

Do we know anything about Haber?

Malkatraz

Why would the uber smart Reinsdorf bring back such an infirm fossil of a human to be his manager? Because… LaRussa & Reinsdorf aren’t friends, they’re frenemies. Jerry Reinsdorf has always hated Tony LaRussa. He brought him back to embarrass him on the national stage. He wanted his last professional memories to be that of humiliation. He wanted LaRussa to come groveling back to him, hat in hand, for a front office job.

Or maybe I’m wrong and Reinsdorf is just old and stupid. And his brilliant plan ironically backfired, and all he did was throw gasoline on his friend’s flaming legacy.

ChiSoxND12

Good points by so many about the complete enigma surrounding this team and its operational hierarchy.

I think there’s an implication that Hahn’s hands are in many ways tied. While I agree with this, I also would posit that he’s a bad general manager and shouldn’t be employed as such

Last edited 2 months ago by ChiSoxND12
steelydan52

I heard just a few minutes of Stone being interviewed by Bernstein and Holmes and Bernstein asked him directly who was running the Sox. Stone’s response was “I have no idea.”
And Jon Heyman said his opinion was Williams and Hahn are safe because they still believe in the talent they have but La Russa will probably be moved to a different position. I wish it was all that simple.

upnorthsox

The more I think about this the more that this has to start with KW being fired, everything else flows from that. Maybe they could do some kinds of face saving move for him but he has to go and go first. You can’t just get rid of Hahn because there are too many of Kenny’s fingerprints on this team to get that needed uninvolved assessment. You surely don’t want to have Williams promoting a Jeremy Haber so he can effectively slip back into the captains chair. And to get anyone of worth you’ll need to offer them the President position and let that person pick the people under them.

steelydan52

I see what you mean but my feeling is IF they were to fire Williams then they’d also have to fire Hahn and let the new guy start with a fresh slate. It would be kind of chicken crap if Jerry fired Williams, hired a new head and tell him/her the rest is on you. Course, that could happen. I mean if Jerry fired Williams and then hired me or your you, would we have a problem clearing out Hahn and the rest? In a heartbeat we’d do that but I just don’t think that would be good business. And again, since when has this team been run with good business in mind.
8 years ago the Blue Jays wanted to hire Williams as team president and Jerry said no. I think Williams is here and he’s going to be making any decisions. Unless he resigns.

upnorthsox

Kenny Resigning to take the KC President job (or other) is the face saver. I agree that JR not clearing it out himself is a bit chickenshit but I think letting KW go is about as much as you can ask from him. If the new guy doesn’t clean house then he’s the wrong guy.

On that note, I’m thinking Matt Silverman from Tampa Bay would be an awesome pick with Jeff Beslow from the Cubs as his GM.

steelydan52

Yes, Silverman would be a good choice but being a LONG time cub hater I couldn’t wrap my head around Beslow. I know I should be able to look past that if it makes the Sox better. Maybe Epstein would make a comeback to prove he can bring a championship to both Chicago teams.