No products in the cart.
Now that there’s nothing to play for, the White Sox finally got around to confirming what all audio/visual evidence and life experience had suggested for weeks: Tony La Russa should not be managing, and Luis Robert should not be playing.
The White Sox announced that Miguel Cairo will be leading the team the rest of the season, as La Russa didn’t receive clearance from doctors to return to his job.
Accompanying that release was an announcement of four roster moves, headlined by Robert’s surrender to the IL for his sprained left wrist. Mark Payton will be taking his spot in the outfield, while the pitching staff swapped out Tanner Banks for Joe Kelly, who is back from the Family Medical League List.
Rick Hahn explained the White Sox’s rationale behind the timing, although there isn’t much rational about it.
Regarding the managerial position, Hahn said doctors had officially given La Russa a recovery timeline and protocol, and Hahn was unwilling to address the implications for 2023 until the end of the season. I don’t have reason to doubt the medical advice, but performance had been an issue long before his health intervened.
As for Robert, Hahn said three different hand specialist said he only needed rest, but that’s also what his stats and swing had been screaming for most of the last six weeks. Robert hit just .156/.192/.222 over 47 plate appearances since he jammed his hand into Jonathan Schoop’s leg on a stolen base attempt on Aug. 12. There was a brief window where he might’ve looked playable, but that closed for good on Sept. 6, when he took a Logan Gilbert pitch to the hand. Robert went 1-for-23 with eight strikeouts in September before they’d finally seen enough.
Payton had been worthy of a promotion the whole time. The Orland Park native hit .293/.369/.539 for Charlotte, with 61 extra-base hits, 15 steals, 54 walks and just 76 strikeouts over 539 plate appearances. He’s also a lefty without noteworthy platoon splits, which would’ve helped balance the lineup, even if only on paper.
Given that Payton is 30 years old and went just 7-for-40 with 12 strikeouts over two cups of coffee with the Reds the last two years, he might very well be the quintessential AAAA player who won’t be able to give the Sox any sort of jolt. The problem is that a one-handed Robert set the bar so low that replacement-level types could clear it easily, so Payton wouldn’t have had to achieve much to still help. If Payton’s performance actually translates to the Sox for even a small sample, a lot of people will be happy for him, but it’ll only make the organization look worse for not making the change sooner.
With Robert done for the year, that leaves Tim Anderson and Michael Kopech as the last current questions standing, and neither one’s services is necessary. Anderson would need a proper rehab stint for his surgically repaired hand before he could be expected to offer more than what Elvis Andrus is doing, and Hahn said Kopech likely needs a cyst removed from his knee, so he may as well add a couple of weeks to his offseason in order to properly address all the parts that went wrong.