When Rick Hahn singled out, but didn’t identify, a national reporter that he wasn’t happy with due to speculation about Pedro Grifol’s job security, I assumed it was Bob Nightengale, given that he pointed out Grifol’s lack of impact with the White Sox on 670 The Score last week.
But no, it was Jon Heyman, who told the Mully & Haugh show on Monday that Grifol “could be one-and-done” if the White Sox don’t turn it around.
Hahn didn’t appreciate the heat, and tried to frame it as out-of-town stupid to the local beat writers before Monday’s game.
“What happened this morning is there apparently was a very well-respected national out-of-town reporter (Heyman) speculating about Pedro’s job security on a local sports station. “You guys who are here day in and day out, especially the beat group that spends the amount of time talking to me or talking to others around the front office and hearing how we operate, have heard me say before that this underperformance that we’ve had so far or any of the issues that we’ve had thus far in this season, it was not on Pedro and on the coaching staff. I don’t think we could’ve been more clear about that. I understand that people, especially in this day and age … where clicks matter and ratings matter and palace intrigue matters – and I’m not going to be able to solve that here in my position, nor is it my responsibility to solve that – but as we get closer to the deadline, as we get closer toward the end of the season and people want to speculate on what’s going to happen around here and what’s not going to happen, I would caution against putting too much credibility into reports that don’t come from people who are here all the time.
And I don’t mean to criticize or single out any national guy in particular – many of them are very, very good – (but) I actually called the reporter today that made the report and asked him what he was basing it on and we had a great talk and he shared that that was he was simply answering that question with his own speculation and not something that he was reporting. I continue to have a great respect for him.
It sure sounded like an overreaction to the radio spot in question. Mike Mulligan was the one who entered the phrase “one-and-done” into the record as he asked Heyman about Grifol’s surprisingly snippy response to questions about the batting order, and Heyman acknowledged the possibility. I suppose it’s sort of fitting that Hahn responded to a discussion about disproportionate frustration with some of his own.
The issue is that each side is discussing Grifol’s job security in their own context. If you think Hahn is the one who will get to decide whether Grifol will stick around for 2024 — and I’m guessing Hahn thinks that’s the case — then sure, any speculation is purely unfounded. Hahn couldn’t have been more effusive about Grifol during his introduction, and he can’t pretend it never happened.
If you think that Hahn won’t or shouldn’t be the guy determining Grifol’s future, then sure, why couldn’t Grifol be one-and-done? What has he done to distinguish himself from any managerial candidate a new GM would favor? Josh and I actually discussed that latter question just the other day:
SOX MACHINE PODCAST: Honeymoon period is over for Pedro Grifol
Hahn, of course, won’t indulge that second scenario. And while he might feel obligated to set and reset the agenda for White Sox conversation, there’s a risk to mentioning it at all, because he Streisand-Effected me into learning what Heyman said in the first place. Heyman doesn’t strike me as a go-to guy for what the White Sox might be thinking, so I don’t go out of my way to absorb what he says. Now here I am, listening to his spot and talking about it.
It’s similar to the when the White Sox issued a strongly, clumsily worded statement shooting down a Jerry Reinsdorf anecdote from David Samson that I would’ve been inclined to give only a grain of truth considering the source, only for Reinsdorf himself to eventually say in a public forum that, yes, having a chance to contend in the last month of the season is usually good enough. When it feels like White Sox personnel doth protest too much, there’s a reason to trust yourthinks.
In the meantime, Nightengale — a national reporter whose White Sox information I pay attention to, even if it requires heavy machinery to discard the framing — said in his Sunday column that some White Sox wouldn’t mind Hahn putting them on the block.
Several veterans in the Chicago White Sox organization have privately expressed that they would welcome a trade, and considering the way they are playing, may soon get their wish.
None of the players, however, have formally asked the White Sox front office to trade them.
When Nightengale spent his White Sox spring training preview defending Tony La Russa’s honor, he extensively quoted Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn. Disclaimer: This is my own speculation.