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One troublesome chapter of White Sox history is over. Another concurrent, longer-running troublesome chapter of the White Sox will continue.
Tony La Russa officially announced his retirement with a lengthy statement preceding a media conference at Guaranteed Rate Field, after which Rick Hahn discussed the plan moving forward, because he will continue to be the person in charge of it all because Jerry Reinsdorf can’t be bothered to care about the product beyond a superficial sense.
La Russa confirmed the pacemaker problem, along with a second unspecified health issue that La Russa said he was made aware of before the season. He said the pacemaker correction in late August, and the pause on baseball activities afterward, enabled La Russa’s doctors to develop a “corrective plan,” which they have implemented. He also said he made the White Sox aware of the unspecified health issue during that time.
Given Reinsdorf’s attachment to La Russa and the White Sox’s unwillingness to change managers until well past the point it could make a difference for a season, I’d wondered whether health issues were being emphasized in order to pretend that a performance-related dismissal would be equally justifiable. La Russa did not pretend that doctors were the only people thinking retirement was the best path forward.
With La Russa officially done, the conversation can officially turn to the next White Sox manager, and Rick Hahn will try to follow the 2020 playbook, except with zero benefit of the doubt.
And Scot Gregor is correct: Hahn said the same thing two Octobers ago, nearly word-for-word:
“Ultimately, I think the best candidate or the ideal candidate is going to be someone who has experience with a championship organization in recent years,” Hahn said. “Recent October experience with a championship organization would be ideal. But we’re going to keep an open mind.”
That wasn’t the only bit of history repeating, either:
And from two Octobers ago:
“We have been insular in our past hirings,” Hahn said. “That’s objectively true and no one can run from that.”
But Hahn was coming off a postseason appearance (after a fashion) back in 2020, so those quotes were from the leader of an organization that wanted to reach the next level.
Coming after one of the most disappointing seasons in White Sox history, he had to answer questions as to whether he should be the one still in charge. I regret to inform you that he’s gone Full John Paxson.
… and the condescension emanating from this tweet suggests he’s nowhere close to thinking that he’s a big-enough problem.
And if you want to wallow in his initial offseason assessment, this isn’t encouraging:
If the White Sox can’t add meaningfully in free agency and they’re mainly selling low on the trade market, it’s going to require a whole lot of creativity to reshape the roster. Considering Hahn can’t even think of different things to say about a managerial search, there’s every reason to continue doubting his imagination.