Podcast: White Sox Last to Hire a Manager for 2023 Season

Record Date: 10/30/2022

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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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MrStealYoBase

My reading of the Espada situation is that the Sox (or any other team) didn’t have a shot. He’s been rumored for pretty much every job opening for the last few off-seasons and has confirmed to have interviewed for several of them. I think he needs an offer he can’t refuse in terms of money or roster control in order to give up his position as heir-apparent to the Astros job. I don’t think that’s anything that another team is likely to do for a first-time manager.

As Cirensica

My reading mirrors that of what Josh and Jim discussed in the podcast. The White Sox might see themselves in a win now situation and feel uneasy in hiring an first time manager to handle this team in the current situation. I haven’t heard/read that the White Sox have interviewed or are planning to interview Kevin Long, so I am not sure about that front.

They haven’t announced any other lined up interviews, so maybe they are keeping it under the radar or they have already made a decision and are looking for the right moment to annouce it.

ForsterFTOG

Nobody worth anything is willing to work with the three knuckle-headed monster that is the Sox front office.

mrridgman

I think that’s the real issue preventing a managerial hire, now that we’re down to the last man (not) standing. It’s become obvious to everyone (especially baseball insiders) that the Sox decision-making process is currently beyond repair, the result of which is a variety of problems that show no signs of abating. Who would want this job unless they’re desperate?

BenwithVen

A new challenger has entered the arena.

texag10

I’m thoroughly convinced that no one knows what’s going on with the White Sox managerial search, front office included.

HallofFrank

Honestly, if the Sox just avoid an insular hire, I’ll be happy. That shows they went through some kind of process.

As Cirensica

I have a feeling Jerry knows.

Chris

Great, another candidate with very little experience… And, ZERO experience at managing at the MLB level. He has only had limited time as a bench coach.

It is looking more and more, Sox will keep with their incestuous ways. I think it will probably be Cairo or Getz. Or, it will be Grifol (if they truly do an outside hire)… All three will be willing to expect a bottom dollar offer. All will be willing to keep the current coaching staff intact… because they still are under contract 2023.

The Sox are now the doormat of the American League.

BenwithVen

I’m not exactly sure how interviewing the bench coach of the Yankees makes us the “doormat of the American League”. And while he’s only been the bench coach since 2019, he’s been coaching for them in some capacity since 2014. If you believe the reviews from Cashman and Boone, he’s a strong candidate.

Adam

Have to be critical of two points here defending Ozzie.

1) You mentioned he doesn’t believe in exit velocity as a negative. After watching the 2022 team, I think that’s a positive to anyone who heard for 4 months “Just wait…we’re killing the ball, Cleveland isn’t, this will even out”. It never did. If exit velocity is what determined the shape of this team, it should be buried out back. All of our hard hit balls hung up long enough to be caught. The ones that weren’t, the 110 mph singles ensured nobody could get 2 bases at a time. When you talk why Cleveland was so good at first to third or 2nd to home, its cause their singles wouldn’t get pulled over in a school zone. Ours were rockets that kept us station to station. I hate exit velocity. If you want to say homers = wins and we need to sell out for homers, ill listen. Exit velocity in itself, no.

2) The idea that him giving Dunn / Rios / Pierre 1777 at bats in 2011 was him not doing his job. Like..I see what you’re saying in regards to what we saw this year and how it compares. But what should he have done? When 2 outfielders are underperforming and you don’t control who stays and goes, you only have so many moves you can make. De Aza didn’t come until August and then he played pretty much every day. So if i’m remembering/reading right, our other two outfield options earlier than August would have been Brent Lillibridge and …Mark Teahen? Maybe. The solution can’t be worse than the original problem. Juan Pierre was tough to watch but he hit .280 with a .330 obp. Didn’t kill the team. Rios and Dunn did. But with Dunn, he was in the first year of a long term deal and came back the following year with 41 homers, 105 walks, 800 ops. Still not great, but you can’t just quit on him either. And i hated watching Dunn and Pierre. I’m just saying he was very limited in his potential moves. I think KW/Hahn should have went for that construction rather than Ozzie simply playing them. If you buy me rotten apples, you’re not gonna like the apple crisp i bake.

MrStealYoBase

Exit velocity isn’t a goal, it’s a predictive stat. The average exit velocity and max exit velocity of a player correlate better with future success in a small sample size than batting average or traditional counting stats. That’s because it shows that player has/doesn’t have hard-to-teach skills like bat speed and bat to ball ability. It gives you an insight into whether the player can get better results through easy(or at least easier) to teach skills like swing plane or pitch selection.

I think there are very few people in baseball who don’t understand this. The people who don’t are mostly fans or commentators but their criticisms are generally straw-men arguments since nobody actually uses the exit velocity as a target result in itself.

If anything, the fact that Ozzie doesn’t understand this is further proof that the game has passed him by.

MrStealYoBase

There’s a ton that goes into it. Launch angle is definitely part but the spin that gets put onto the ball by the swing can be the different in ~40 feet of carry. Christian Yelich has a swing that puts crazy backspin on the ball, which is why he was able to have two of the best offensive seasons of the 21st century while having “bad” launch angle metrics.

And also agree 100%. The Sox “ripping off Cleveland” doesn’t mean becoming a bunch of slap hitters who use speed to manufacture runs. It means selling out to maximize the natural strengths of their team like the Guardians did. This team *should* be able to challenge the league lead in home runs if they have coaches who could turn modern data into actionable insights for players.

As Cirensica

1) I disagree with you. There are mounting of evidence that EV increases run generation (wRC+)

2) That was 10 years ago. We all should let that go. It’s almost irrelevant at this point. If no, then let’s talk about 2005 too. Washes off. Moot point. People change a lot in 10 years.

Chris

I do not believe Ozzie gets the job. As Jim and yourself pointed out “the messy divorce” back in 2011.

Plus It is rumored Kenny and Ozzie still can work & play well with each other. And, Jerry backed Kenny when it ended back in 2011. Looking at the optics…. Jerry still does.

But with this trainwreck of an organization, who knows???? My instincts tell me this was token interview for Ozzie (at Jerry’s instance). Personally I think he has found his “calling” doing pre/post games. He is better off staying in that venue.

I am of the belief, the Sox purposely waited until they had the last opening. I think they will keep with their incestuous ways and hire Getz or Cairo. And, they will announce the hire with one of their last minute – end of the day press releases. That way they can stick their heads back in the sand to try avoid media / fans.

steelydan52

Dear God, let’s hope not. Initially when the Sox went 13-6 under Cairo I thought maybe they’re on to something. He was winning and talking tough. Then Moncada went in to one of his “going through the motions” games and I really thought Cairo would bench him. He didn’t. Can’t talk tough and then not back it up. Having said that, Hahn said the next manager would come from a winning/successful organization. That would eliminate both guys. I would hope.

As Cirensica

The problem is that benching Moncada might not be the punishment but playing him was.

steelydan52

I really hope that wasn’t the logic!

As Cirensica

We all hope.

As Cirensica

I would never ask people to forget, but I do have an issue with selective memory (i.e. I only remember what I like/want). What happened in 2005, same everyone also is still around.

BillyKochFanClub

“ So if i’m remembering/reading right, our other two outfield options earlier than August would have been Brent Lillibridge and …Mark Teahen?”

You’re forgetting Viciedo.

Jim Margalus

Regarding 2), De Aza was an option well before August. Here’s me mentioning in July 2011 that nobody had mentioned De Aza since spring training, even though he was raking in Charlotte and had a good cup of coffee the year before. Alongside him, Lillibridge and Dayan Viciedo were options.

Pierre killed the team during the first half, but he got as many PAs as he did because Ozzie insisted that Pierre was the leadoff guy, just as Omar Vizquel was the utility guy, even both were underwater.

With Dunn, Ozzie could have quit on him in 2011, if only for the year. KW said to quit on him. Instead, Ozzie used Dunn when he didn’t have to, and blamed Dunn’s salary for having to play him.

Perhaps Ozzie had some legit beef with Kenny, but as a customer, I don’t care. As a customer, I saw a manager who acted as though, at best, he had no interest in solving problems. At worst, he managed with an intent to wound. He managed as if his sole concern was embarrassing Kenny, and everything else was collateral damage.

Kenny is still in charge. Reinsdorf has proven incapable of firing people he’s attached to in a timely manner. Ozzie hasn’t managed in a decade. There’s no reason to give any of the three any benefit of the doubt that this will start any better than it ended.

steelydan52

Well, if we believe Heyman, it’s not going to be Guillen anyway which I’m fine with. But Mendoza or Grifol? I still feel this team can win so hiring either of those 2 doesn’t send that message. If Guillen and Washington are no longer in the running then that leaves first time managers unless all of a sudden Shildt or Girardi or Mattingly come into play. That doesn’t seem possible, does it?

Adam

De Aza and Viciedo were options in the sense that they were in the organization, but Ozzie doesn’t make the call as to who is on the major league roster. De Aza’s first game that year was July 27, he played in the majority of the remainder, 54 games. Viciedo’s first game was late August. He played about every game from that point on. I don’t get dinging Ozzie for not playing guys who weren’t there. As soon as they were, they played.

On the idea of quitting on Dunn, what do you do with him? Play with a 24 man roster? He had 322 plate appearances in the first half compared to 174 in the second. He had the fewest plate appearances of the year in Aug and Sept. So he did back off every day play, but you can’t just go 1 man short forever. I don’t remember 2011 exactly but I would think he would try to deploy him against certain righties trying to boost his confidence.

To those with exit velo arguments, I understand the theory of it. But to me its similar to WAR for pitchers. 3 true outcomes right? Well a big part of pitching is inducing weak contact and keeping hitters off balance. Its why Bieber and Mckenzie can carve guys up for 8 innings on 85 pitches while we have a statistical wonder in Cease but who can’t make it through 6 innings. Same goes for hitting. There’s more to it than launch and velocity. Call me outdated but ill take a manger who believes in get him on, get him over, get him in over just random swings and probability matrixes. Playing good fundamental baseball always works. Since i’ve been a fan (1994), i’ve seen one guy bring it to the south side. I’ll take that shot over random bench coach who’s never done it or retread who hasn’t won any day.

Jim Margalus

“Quitting on Dunn” ≠ never playing.

“Quitting on Dunn” = avoiding him in all situations where his presence does very specific, negative damage. Like letting him hit for himself against a lefty in a close-and-late situation when he’s batting .037 against lefties, or pinch-hitting him for a better hitter against Joe Nathan, when Lillibridge had homered off Nathan the only time he saw him.

He actively exposed Dunn and then cried salary when people questioned him about why he avoided the obvious move.

Adam

So i didn’t remember that game. On the surface it looks bad I admit. BUT…you’re down 7-4, 9th inning, 2 on 1 out. Tough righty on the hill vs. righty Lillibridge. Going to a left handed thumper with the idea that one swing ties it…its not crazy. Like not fireable offense bad. I’m not arguing it was the right call. But I don’t think its horrendous. If you’re going to have Dunn on the team, breaking him out for one swing when you’re down multiple runs and you need a last gasp, its probably when you could argue using him.

For analytics sake…Dunn was a .250 hitter as a pinch hitter in 2011 and 1 of those hits was an enormous 2 run bomb in the 8th inning off Jim Johnson to cut a 6-2 game to 6-4 so…yeah i’ve got nothing

GrinnellSteve

I wonder who the Sox could hire who would have me wishing they had hired Ozzie instead. Let’s see, I prefer Ozzie to Tony reneging on his retirement. That’s one. I prefer Oz to A.J or Paulie or Thome or Beckham. That’s two through five. Bevington or Vizquel. That’s six and seven. Boston? Eight. Larry Rothschild? Mattingly? That takes us to ten.

If the Sox are going to hire Ozzie, they need to prime the pump by first interviewing some of the names I listed. He’ll look like John McGraw by comparison.

steelydan52

My pipe dream is that the Williams/Hahn connection realize that this could be their last hire so they have to get it right. I’ve mentioned Konerko before but he goes against what Hahn said they were looking for. They others you mentioned? No way. I think they’d talk to Mattingly before any of the others. It won’t be Girardi because he has more backbone than Williams and Hahn combined and they wouldn’t tolerate that. Forget Maddon.
I won’t pretend to know much at all about Mendoza, Grifol or Long except Long seems to be a good hitting coach.
I don’t know if the Sox said no to Espada or if he said no to them. And Heyman has been wrong before. Ozzie’s silence has almost been deafening.

jorgefabregas

There seems to be some revisionist history on twitter and in the media that because Ozzie is a disciplinarian whose teams are always fundamentally sound and play hard. That’s not what I recall. I do recall Jim pointing out an interview where he called infield drills eyewash (and maybe they are! But I don’t think he has an alternative).

jorgefabregas

“Because” shouldn’t be in this sentence, but I’m guessing most of you figured that out.

Jim Margalus

It was a New Yorker story about Ozzie’s first/only spring training with the Marlins. He basically makes a big show about how little he does.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/04/09/old-fish-new-fish

steelydan52

The longer this drags on the more I thought maybe I’d be ok with Ozzie part 2. After reading this article you posted I say no way in hell should they hire him. I’m not a fan of self promoters and that’s what Ozzie is.
Damn, I wish the Sox would just get on with it and do things right. I’m holding out hope they will.

BillyKochFanClub

I feel like the reason we keep hearing his name in the process while others are kept close to the vest is because he’s such a vocal self promoter.

If he’s not the pick(which is my belief), he can keep his name out there and it appears that he is/was a finalist in a managerial search. It may not be the case, but the perception is certainly there because he’s the most prominent name in an otherwise quiet search. When was the last time Ozzie was even interviewed for manager? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s someone no one’s really talking about, while Ozzie is getting more attention than he has in years.

Last edited 1 month ago by BillyKochFanClub
As Cirensica

He got an interview for a manager opening with the Padres before they hired Bob Melvin.

BenwithVen

Scott Merkin insinuated in his newsletter today that an official announcement won’t come until after the World Series. I thought this was interesting as well mainly for how open ended it is:

 I stress for what seems like the fourth or fifth time how this hire most importantly requires a team focus and the ability to work collaboratively with the front office, the coaching staff and everyone else involved.

steelydan52

Well hell, that could be any number of guys out there except for the likes of Girardi and Maddon. I would have to stress to the Sox brass that it doesn’t mean it has to be someone cheap. I know I wanted previous manager experience but right now I’ll take Long. And maybe the Mendoza’s and Grifol’s would be fine. I’m disappointed if they feel the next manager HAS to speak Spanish because I have no idea if Long does or not. Whatever happened to Beltran? If he’s eliminated for the cheating crap then I’m fine with that.

Alfornia Jones

My guess is Hahn will hire Ozzie with the following stipulations: 1) Front office sets the lineup everyday; 2) Katz/Front Office sequences the bullpen use everyday. Hahn probably had to lobby hard to keep his job, so he needs someone who could potentially lead a quick rebound, and also someone who had to listen to him. Hahn doesn’t have two years, he has more like 81 games to prove his plan will work, so hiring a green manager doesn’t work for his time line (see Dave Martinez’ first year)

It’s a desperate situation for both Hahn and Ozzie, so they are made for each other. Probably won’t work, but it should make for good TV. My main hope is that Hahn is handcuffed on what new money he can spend, and also not allowed to trade any of the few “prospects”. This is your team, now your manager, you have 81 games to prove it works.

This manager job is plutonium to anyone with a future, so no way anyone decent would hitch their fate to Hahn. Ozzie’s name is mush, so he needs this job to show he can still do it, even if he knows he’ll be fired inside of a year.

Jim Margalus

I think the idea of Hahn being under any kind of pressure is wishful thinking.

Alfornia Jones

Its definitely wishful thinking, guilty. There are no right angles or squares in White Sox world, everything is a little or a lot off. It would be hard to believe the same three decision makers would come up with something less bizarre than Tony Larussa. Rick Hahn may have started in this organization as a capable idea man with sound decision making, but by virtue of years of abuse he employs the same byzantine style as the rest of them.

As Cirensica

How is Ozzie (and Hahn) in any desperation situation? Hahn probably needs to commit a strong crime to force Jerry’s hand to fire him. Ozzie is already very rich, and has a nice gig on TV that can last probably as long as he wants. If there is someone in a desperate situations is us, the fans. Because we are so tired of this circus, and we want to know the feeling of being a fan of a competently run baseball team.

GrinnellSteve

Well, we know a DUI or two won’t get him fired. Or maybe it’s just Hall of Fame baseball persons who get 2 DUIs. Everyone else gets 1 before they’re put on notice.

dongutteridge

So glad it won’t be Ozzie.

Are the Sox stuck on hiring a manager that speaks Spanish? Just wondering.

jorgefabregas

It won’t be?

Deep Dish Pizza

Been begging for over a year to sign Sandy Jr. Never heard of this Carlos but rumors are Boone is gone so why wouldn’t the Yanks just keep him?

GrinnellSteve

I think the Yankees said Boone is coming back.

GrinnellSteve

Off topic, but I had this thought and wanted to get it out there. Everyone outside of Leury Garcia’s extended family hates the contract their meal ticket signed. If he sucks early next year, could the Sox convince him to take that same money to begin his coaching career?

The Sox are still on the hook for the money, but they clear a roster spot and perhaps extract some value from his employment. For Leury’s part, he gets a head start on the next phase of his life, assuming he’s ever considered a future in the game.

Right Size Wrong Shape

What makes you think Leury would be a good coach?

No particular reason. If the Sox have no reason to think so, then cutting him is the play if he’s not contributing. If they think he could be good at it, it’s a way to extract value from the contract. Just a thought.

Leury speaks Spanish. He might know something about fielding or preparing to field multiple positions. He might have insights into switch-hitting.

I’m spitballin’ here.

upnorthsox

Leury has been a consistent .270 hitter until last year, the odds are better that he’ll be a .270 hitter in ’23 than he’ll need to switch to coaching.

upnorthsox

So it appears that Carlos Mendoza was already interviewed a couple weeks ago. Honestly I don’t think they have a clue what they are looking for but they don’t think they have found it yet. This could go on for a while.