Following up: Leftovers from Pedro Grifol’s first day

Along with the introductory media conference, the White Sox put a few other things on Pedro Grifol’s to-do list for his first official day as their manager.

Grifol called Eloy Jiménez, whom Grifol briefly managed in winter ball, to showcase some of those communication skills everybody’s talking about.

And he also went to the Blackhawks game, which showed that Yasmani Grandal is indeed spending his offseason in Chicago.

Grifol also made appearances on both Chicago sports radio stations, joining Waddle & Silvy on ESPN1000, and Parkins & Spiegel on 670 The Score. Between it all, a few items shook out that are worth highlighting.

PERTINENT: With Pedro Grifol, White Sox finally have manager and process they can stand behind

The La Russa Roast

I watched the initial press conference on NBC Sports Chicago’s on-and-off livestream, so I think I missed one section that transcended the passive-aggressive roasting of the Tony La Russa administration and rose to the level of silent screams.

Via 670 The Score:

“What the message is to all the players – and that probably includes most other organizations – is if you are on the field, we want you to give 100%,” Hahn said. “That means 100% of what he can give on a given day. There was one player over the course of the season who had a soft-tissue injury that was instructed if you hit a ground ball to second and you’re going to be out, we understand you shouldn’t bust it fully. He was a young player and more likely to err on the side of aggression was the thought. He was given a message of, ‘Let’s be a little careful.’ We were worried we were on the edge of an injury becoming more significant.

“Other than that message, we asked the players to keep us updated on what was going on from an injury or fatigue standpoint. But when you are out there, we expect 100% of what you have.”

When asked if that’s what he saw from his White Sox, Hahn responded, “I am not sure that message fully got through.”

Coaching staff

On Parkins & Spiegel, Grifol was asked about whether it was unusual to take a job with a few coaches — pitching coach Ethan Katz, bullpen coach Curt Hasler, bench coach Charlie Montoyo — coming pre-installed.

Grifol rejected the premise:

“I’m extremely excited that Ethan Katz is our pitching coach. He’s done a phenomenal job here since he’s been here, and he’s got some great relationships with our pitchers. You know what’s hard? What’s hard is to have a new manager and a new pitching coach coming in at the same time. That’s hard. But the fact that we have a guy here that we completely trust, is extremely intelligent, has got great relationships with those pitchers, it’s only going to be helpful for me, and he’s going to help facilitate my relationships and trust with those guys as well.”

As for Montoyo, while Hahn left open the possibility that Montoyo was pressed upon Grifol during the press conference by calling the decision “collaborative,” Grifol said it was a name both sides arrived at independently.

Who’s the bad cop?

Since both Grifol and Montoyo have reputations as great communicators and positive presences, Matt Spiegel asked which one of them would be willing to play the enforcer.

“I think the red ass will be me. Charlie is, not a quiet guy, but a more reserved guy. I think he’s got a little bit of an edge as well and he can have it if he needs to, but I think he’s going to be the one taming me down a little bit.”

In a separate interview, Ned Yost explained how Grifol might go about it:

“Pedro doesn’t let things slide. Pedro addresses. And that is something that’s vitally important. But the thing about it is that Pedro addresses in a way that is done with love and respect, so that the player understands why [Grifol] is getting on him, and what he needs to do to continue his growth and development.”

Yost said that while he would get on a player in a way that hurt feelings for weeks and eventually needed patching, Grifol had a way of making his point without wounding, to the point that Yost would consult with Grifol before coming down on a player to better understand how to present it.

Pumping up the fan base

Waddle & Silvy asked Grifol about his impressions of Chicago, and while Grifol started with the restaurants, he then skipped to praising the fans in the same sentence.

“Great restaurants, and the fan base is extremely knowledgeable. When you stand in the dugout down there and you hear the fans talk about the game, or scream, or whatever they do, you can hear, number one, their passion, and how intelligent they are to the game of baseball, and I’m really looking forward to being part of that.”

I’d say thanks, but those seats are typically too rich for my blood.

But the best soundbite came toward the end of his appearance on Parkins & Spiegel, when he stressed energy and hard work, culminating in a team that will “work every day, as hard as we possibly fan, to kick your ass at 7:10.”

(Grifol later added, “3:05, 1:05, whatever time we’re playing.”)

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3791
18 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
asinwreck

The 2022 White Sox kicked my ass 24/7 all season.

As Cirensica

All the leg injuries starting to make sense now.

itaita

Luckily for me, like some of the players, i wasn’t giving it 100% every day so it wasn’t so bad.

MrStealYoBase

Jerry Reinsdorf limits the space of possible things the White Sox can do to be a better baseball team.

Within those limits, Grifol and the process of hiring him seems to be one of the more positive possible outcomes.

As Cirensica

I am getting excited about 2023 season. I have a good feeling and vibe which was impossible to feel when Tony was around as he was a black hole of joy. Seriously, not seen Tony in the dugout is already a fantastic feeling. I am liking Grifol demeanor, and energy. He connects well with our Hispanic players which is huge considering many of them are key players.

dwjm3

He seems like a genuinely decent man. I really hope he can pull off a miracle here

Last edited 1 month ago by dwjm3
upnorthsox

No mention of Grifol with the 5 jersey? OPPers who haven’t decided to keep Josh Harrison take note.

mrridgman

I don’t know if Grifol will end up being amongst the tops half/third of MLB managers in ability, at this point nobody knows, despite the many opinions. I agree with those that have positive first impressions, but it’s kinda like a first date, so we’ll see.

I understand the argument of some that a manager makes little difference over the course of a season, maybe a max of 5 games. However, in this instance, if Grifol is average I believe the difference will be more than that. With all the latest TLR tidbits coming out (and a previous Fegan article that hinted at more), 2022 was a historically bad managerial stint. In addition to all the day-to-day mistakes that were made, the lack of hustle really bothered me, it became contagious, and I have to believe that it bothered some of the vets. Maybe 2023 will be a 5+5 swing.

a-t

I think this is the best I have ever felt about a new White Sox manager. Which, well, very low bar! A rather strange pleasantness.

Drdoctor

Same boat. I don’t remember if I was excited about Ozzie or not, probably more of “wait, what now? There’s not another Ozzie Guillen, is there?” My formative fandom years were Lamont, Bevington, and Manuel. Ozzie was when I think I started to have not childhood opinions, but can’t remember. After him, it went:

  • what?
  • lol of course
  • oh shit

So “hey, the first date sounds ok” is better than the “omg, he’s *awful*” I bet most people dating experience.

chipporter

Certainly the best I have felt in a long time without huge reservations. I have no problem with letting talented, experienced baseball admins have their first crack at a job promotion.

upnorthsox

For those keeping score, Crick and Haseley outrighted to Charlotte. Crick can decline.

yinkadoubledare

All his appearances so far certainly lend credence to the “good communicator” part. A manager can’t win this early, but he could certainly start out on the wrong foot and he has definitely passed that first test with authority. I can see why the powers that be liked him in interviews.

asinwreck

Looks like Tosar is joining the coaching staff.

Right Size Wrong Shape

He’ll be able to recruit Alvarez when he’s a free agent in 2029.

Marty34

There was one player over the course of the season who had a soft-tissue injury that was instructed if you hit a ground ball to second and you’re going to be out, we understand you shouldn’t bust it fully. He was a young player and more likely to err on the side of aggression was the thought. He was given a message of, ‘Let’s be a little careful.’ We were worried we were on the edge of an injury becoming more significant.

“Other than that message, we asked the players to keep us updated on what was going on from an injury or fatigue standpoint. But when you are out there, we expect 100% of what you have.”

When asked if that’s what he saw from his White Sox, Hahn responded, “I am not sure that message fully got through.”

Unbelievable quote from Hahn. So he can’t see how having one set of rules for one player and another set for everyone else would lead to clubhouse dysfunction. It’s like the Drake LaRoche saga wasn’t his brainchild either.

steelydan52

And if you saw the clip of him talking with Jimenez he ended it by telling him he loved him. It better be tough love. I have no idea why that bothers me but it does.

BillyKochFanClub

It is definitely odd that it bothers you. He’s continuing to build a relationship with one of his core players. I saw it as a positive.