The White Sox’s managerial search is the last one going

The White Sox own the winter’s last managerial vacancy after the Royals hired the guy I was particularly intrigued by, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.

Quatraro has neither MLB managing experience nor playing experience, but he has minor-league managing experience, and rode shotgun next to Kevin Cash for baseball’s biggest overachievers with Tampa Bay. He’s also a native of New York’s Capital Region who checks off so many local baseball ties — Bethlehem Central High School! University at Albany! Amsterdam Mohawks! — and any White Sox story that warrants coverage from my former colleagues at the Times Union gets extra points in my book.

There’s also a chance that Quatraro’s specific strengths are diminished by a retrograde front office and convoluted chain of command, or that his lack of big-league bona fides makes him an easier target for mutiny if an under-the-gun clubhouse can’t deliver the goods (see: Tingler, Jayce). The Royals, with a very young clubhouse, new GM and no immediate expectations, have the time to establish a long-term fit, or the time to look elsewhere in a couple years if Quatraro isn’t deemed the guy who can get a team over the top. The White Sox don’t have that kind of forgiveness built into their decision, so you can’t blame them for taking their time.

The hard part is figuring out if there’s anything you can blame the White Sox for, because it really feels like there’s something to rage against. The White Sox’s search is unlike anything any other team did, and generally speaking, the Sox’s idiosyncrasies tend to be the subject of derision and scorn, not emulation.

The Blue Jays and Rangers took straightforward paths, with Toronto removing John Schneider’s “interim” tag and Texas homing in on Bruce Bochy. The Royals and Marlins were rather transparent, or at least translucent, about the candidates under consideration, and Quatraro and Skip Schumaker indeed came out of the pool of known interviewees.

The White Sox’s process is opaque at best. Jon Heyman just reported a new name in Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza, but he obscured whether the news was old by referring to the request in past tense …

… and sure enough, that report was countered by a Venezuelan journalist who said Mendoza interviewed 10 days ago.

If the White Sox are just waiting for the conclusion of the World Series in order for their preferred candidate to officially become available, and drips, drabs and Ozzie Guillen’s intense interest can’t help but escape the container, then I suppose that’s the cost of having to wait. Bob Nightengale deleted a tweet that said the Quatraro hiring filled baseball’s last vacancy, and it’s hard to know how many ways it was wrong, because maybe he’s already been apprised of the team’s decision.

But the White Sox’s previously established inability to conduct a professional search for a manager makes it hard to give them benefit of the doubt. For all we know, they could be entering Week 4 of a front office standoff, with Jerry Reinsdorf, Rick Hahn, Kenny Williams, Jeremy Haber, Chris Getz and Gene Honda all trying to build coalitions for their individually preferred candidates.

Basically, any interpretation of the events can be interpreted in accordance with the openness of one’s heart. If you’re an optimist, the White Sox are in stealth mode. If you’re a pessimist, you can say that “stealth mode” looks just like “gridlock” or “hibernation” when nobody can see you sleeping. If you’re a pragmatist, Waffle Houses have open kitchens, so transparency doesn’t automatically inspire confidence in the thoroughness and stringency of the process.

“We’ll have to see” is such a boring conclusion for a post, but sometimes that’s all there is. Monday’s rainout of Game 3 means this World Series will be the first one to have more games in November than October, so if nothing else, we can safely say that the White Sox picked the most annoying year to wait until the post-postseason.

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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.

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asinwreck

asinwreck

If you are the power behind the throne, all of us should be upping our Patreon subscriptions for influence.

As Cirensica

I don’t get it, the Royals looked past their own Grifol to hire another bench coach from another organization. Isn’t that a red flag?

BenwithVen

Grifol could also have picked the White Sox over the Royals.

Hulksmash

“White Sox search has been mostly a mystery.”

Mystery…or a disorganized mess spearheaded by unclear goals dictated by a formless chain of command?

In other words: Another White Sox front office blunder. It’s almost as if the way they do things just doesn’t work…

Last edited 1 month ago by Hulksmash
Hulksmash

This comment got dated VERY fast, haha

Last edited 1 month ago by Hulksmash
As Cirensica

Pedro Grifol wiki page has him as the White Sox manager already! 👀

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Grifol

Hulksmash

Nothing is certain until his signature appears below someone else’s photo!

asinwreck

I doubt he’s going to wear number 6. If in fact, this report is accurate.

I would be relieved to see a manager hired from outside the family circle, I don’t know enough about him to say if he’d do a good job, but the Sox would at least clear the low bar of not hiring one of Jerry’s buddies.

knoxfire30

Hiring a guy on a team who fired their manager, underachieved even low expectations… who hired someone else of the same title…

None of that makes sense

As Cirensica

Anything makes sense within the White Sox realm

670WMAQtheElder

The Royals have had more post season success than the Sox since they showed up in 1969.

BillyKochFanClub

I understand the argument if the Sox hired Matheny, but like bad teams can still have a really good player on the roster, a bad team can have a good coach on staff as well. Not to mention was in the org during their glory years as well.

I have no idea how successful Grifol will be, but he was a popular candidate for openings so there may be something there. It seems like a lot of the opposition to the hire is focused on the fact that he came from the Royals.

kingkellly

I think the hesitancy is based on the team with the most exposure to him that also needed a manager passed on him.

jorgefabregas

You don’t know that. He could have turned them down in favor of the White Sox.

BillyKochFanClub

The Royals new GM is cleaning house. I think he’s interested in bringing in his own personnel. Maybe he feels Quartrero is a better fit for the Royals roster at this time. Grifol could be a better fit for the Sox roster. Both things can be true.

It’s also possible that Grifol chose the Sox. Timing suggests that it isn’t likely, but it’s not impossible. Grifol could be a dud, but we really don’t know much about him so it’s hard to muster strong feelings one way or another.

mrridgman

Would you please keep common sense out of this discussion?

HallofFrank

Or maybe he’s the guy with the best ideas and he takes relatively no blame for the Royals performance this year?

Other than managers with experience (a la Ron Washington or Ozzie), the things fans look at for bench coaches are relatively unimportant to the things fans can’t see. If he was impressive in the interview and has a reputation for getting through to players, why not him?

GrinnellSteve

Maybe the Royals preferred to have a fresh perspective on their roster.

Or maybe the Royals got Babe Ruth, which is no slight to Grifol who is Lou Gehrig.

Right Size Wrong Shape

If they were going to hire Grifol, why did it take this long?

I’m not going to bash the hire, because who really knows. I have opinions on guys who have managed before, but I have no way of knowing if someone’s bench coach will end up being good. I can’t imagine he could be worse than what we’ve seen the last 2 years, and he’s not Ozzie, so that’s good. Jim mentioned that he was the darling of the Royals’ analytically-minded fans, so there’s that. So I guess we’ll see.

HallofFrank

Your second paragraph is right on. Sox fans would’ve loved Espada but will hate this based on the performances of the Astros and Royals over the last 2 years—which probably doesn’t crack the top 20 of things that are most important for a new manager. It’s hard to know what to think. But I’m thrilled because they went through a process. No matter how flawed, this is an improvement over hiring Ozzie or Cairo.

Why did it take this long? Maybe it really was a process. If they really didn’t know TLR’s status until the closing weeks of the season, they haven’t had as long as most teams (who know they’re going to fire their manager or already have) looking for managers. It takes time to conduct thorough interviews. I suspect that’s why.

upnorthsox

While all of this may be true/appropriate I don’t have to accept it as that as they also have a history.

670WMAQtheElder

Grifol sounds like a Getz hire.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I heard he’s always been Gene Honda’s guy. Bossard is mad, though.

ForsterFTOG

I’ll be happy when that day comes when our groundskeeper is no longer more widely respected than our front office and ownership.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Just wait until his kid becomes the star of the team.

ForsterFTOG

Sounds like a ‘we got the lowest paid manager/head coach in major professional sports and we can hold onto our lowest paid professional coaching staff in major professional sports’ hire.

BenwithVen

He’s Cuban and he understands/utilizes analytics while working under guys like Ned Yost and Mike Matheny. I’m guessing he also had some interesting insights into the White Sox considering KC always has given them fits.

As Cirensica

Grifol was born in Miami, but he speaks Spanish like a native speaker with a strong Cuban accent. He should be able to communicate very well with the White Sox Latam players and connect well with our Cuban base. From that point of view…good hire.

steelydan52

I think if you look up the lowest salary of any baseball manager, Grifol’s name will be there. Just what JR likes.
We can hope for the best but this sucks at this moment.

HallofFrank

There is virtually no reason for you think this sucks. I doubt you’ve ever ever heard Grifol speak and presumably are basing this off the Royals being bad over the last few years—something Grifol has extremely little control over. The Sox went through a process and didn’t make an insular hire. It’s cause for celebration.

steelydan52

You are right about me not knowing anything about Grifol. I wanted an experienced manager for how the Sox are set up now so it sucks they didn’t do that. And all the names that were bandied about and we end up with Grifol. I hope for the best and wish him luck but it sucks only because it’s not what/who I was hoping for.

dat gummit

Waffle House is a national treasure

BillyKochFanClub

Ken Rosenthal says most of the coaches will not return, but Katz appears safe.

steelydan52

Well, there’s some good news!

Right Size Wrong Shape

Good, but I hope that the Katz thing is Grifol’s decision. Even though I like Katz, I don’t want a new manager being saddled with any coaches he doesn’t want. Also, I really hope we don’t see the words “Mike Matheny: Bench Coach” any time soon.

BillyKochFanClub

Agreed, I hope Katz isn’t the new Coop where he’s just passed on from manager to manager like a family heirloom.

Northbrook Bob is saying that Charlie Montoya will be the bench coach.

Last edited 1 month ago by BillyKochFanClub
jorgefabregas

That sounds pretty reasonable if true

jorgefabregas

Glad it’s not Ozzie. It’s also funny that all of the White Sox food/rumor twitter accounts regurgitating media reports as if they have their own sources got it wrong. Well, there’s probably one who got it right (1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters, etc.).

Won’t really know if it’s a good or bad hire for a while, so that’s all I got.

WestEddy

We went 9-10 against a shitty 65 win team. This guy’s been part of the managerial group that has game-planned 10 wins against us. I would think he has a feel for our organization, our weaknesses, and how to exploit them.

But yeah, he’s being announced last of all managerial hires this off-season, and he’s not the highest paid manager in the game, so of course, those are all red flags that he’ll suck.



upnorthsox

So he knows how to bring out the worse in this team? Great!!

Adam

By that measure we got a guy who helped game plan going 14-24 against Cleveland and Minnesota.

roke1960

I like the hire. They went outside the organization. Time for some fresh ideas.

vanillablue

Grifol is not Ozzie, and that’s good enough for me. As long as he doesn’t actively harm the team, he’ll be an improvement.

Adam

Don’t love the hire at all. After watching Robert fake injuries to sit out, Moncada ditch working on his baseball to focus on music, TA with the personal drama, everybody lack fundamentals, pitchers not being able to throw strikes, I just don’t think a players manager is what we needed. I’d rather have seen someone get in their face and challenge them. Hoping for the best but copying the Royals doesn’t sound like a great plan.

steelydan52

Yes and yes.

As Cirensica

Robert fake injuries?

mrridgman

Probably reliable inside information.

Adam

Not sure what else to call it. First he missed what, 5 weeks with vitamin deficiency lead dizziness. In all the history of baseball I think he was the first guy ever to encounter that. Then there was the wrist issue causing him to swing with one hand. If i remember correctly nothing showed on the mris or x-rays. It just hurt. Nobody was ever able to determine why or if they did they didn’t release it. So, i don’t know what to call that. Maybe it did really hurt, I don’t know. But I do know that Cleveland had Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez playing through hand injuries so bad they required off season surgery. Except they just went out and played through it. Seems like Robert had a bunch of stuff this year that nobody could really prove. Maybe he didn’t fake it and it was an actual injury, just the kind that don’t show up anywhere.

ForsterFTOG

Evidently it’s beyond the realm of possibility to suggest a young wealthy player was jaking it knowing his manager was half asleep, coaching staff just happy to have ML jobs and the front office had their collective heads buried in the sand.

jorgefabregas

That’s a nice story, but it conflicts with reports that Robert was the one pushing to play until Zavala convinced him that he could mess up his swing long-term by swinging injured. I don’t see why Robert would want to tank his stats by swinging one-handed. Lots of injuries don’t show up on X-rays. I can’t find any reports as to whether they did an MRI.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I went from being annoyed at reading this, to thinking I got duped again and this is a very well-done parody comment, to thinking that I’m overthinking it and it really is a dumb comment. I need a break.