Pedro Grifol has reached a crossroads with Tim Anderson

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson
(Photo by Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports)

National print magazines usually plan out an issue several months in advance, and that was my first thought when reading a GQ profile on Tim Anderson that went live this week.

The story hasn’t entirely sat in the can since Opening Day. The author, Matthew Roberson, talked to Anderson when he was in New York for the Yankees series earlier this month. It also references Anderson’s off-field indiscretions (The Pivot podcast addresses it more thoroughly if you care) and his tough season under the White Sox’s third manager in four years. Four, if you count Miguel Cairo.

The problem is that the article’s subject is a Tim Anderson that doesn’t seem to exist right now. The story was probably pitched about the guy with four consecutive .300 seasons and an unapologetic quest to expand the idea of baseball stardom beyond its staid conventions.

The Tim Anderson who’s on the field right now is hitting .226/.265/.264 after an 0-for-5, four-strikeout game against the worst team in baseball on Friday. Nick Madrigal has out-homered him this season — with one, which he hit Friday afternoon. Whether you use fWAR (-0.9) or bWAR (-1.3), Anderson is the second-least valuable regular in the majors. The only difference is who he’s trailing (Jurickson Profar for the former, Jean Segura for the latter).

Nobody should expect laser-sharp baseball insight from GQ. It’s a style magazine, not Handsome FanGraphs. For all its flaws, however, the story actually meshes with the way Pedro Grifol has insisted on batting Anderson at or near the top of the order. In both cases, there’s a sense that both are propping up Anderson and masking the lack of results because the idea is way more attractive than the reality.

At least GQ can blame the early deadlines. Grifol doesn’t have a deadline. He can change course any given day, especially since Anderson’s knee and shoulder injuries provide easy excuses that don’t diminish anybody’s standing. He instead drifts past every off-ramp.

Let’s go back to what Grifol said before the finale at Dodger Stadium on June 15. When asked if he had given any thought to moving Anderson down in the order, he said, “Not at all. Hasn’t even crossed my mind.” Then he added, “I know at any given day [Anderson] can start feeling really good. We have 92 games left? He could hit 120 hits the rest of the year.”

There are now 77 games left. Over the two weeks or so since that quote, Anderson is 4-for-41 with zero extra-base hits and 14 strikeouts. If you want to try finding some silver lining, an Anderson that truly has 116 hits still in the tank has to hit something like .375 the rest of the way.

Grifol did drop Anderson in the order — one spot, and two days after Grifol said it hadn’t even crossed his mind. The half-measure hasn’t worked, and the eighth inning on Friday showed how he’s getting in the way. Anderson came to the plate with two on and two outs with the Sox trailing by two, but struck out for the fourth time. Luis Robert Jr. was on deck, and he ended up hitting a solo shot to lead off the ninth.

So reporters are asking him the same question, and he’s giving the same answer.

Manager Pedro Grifol has stuck with the former All-Star in the No. 2 spot after dropping him from his customary leadoff role. A drop to the bottom of the order seems necessary. Anderson is 4-for-58 in his last 14 games.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” Grifol said after the game.

Sure enough, Anderson’s batting second in today’s lineup …

… but if precedent holds regarding things that haven’t allegedly crossed Grifol’s mind, he’ll drop Anderson to eighth by Sunday, not because he’s not getting the job done, but because the White Sox feel compelled to play him through injuries despite a complete lack of detectable benefits.

There is so much I don’t understand about the way Grifol has handled this, but the most Grifol-specific aspect that confounds me is the way he claims to not think about things.

I mean, I get it in the basic sense. Grifol’s deploying a defense mechanism intended to shut down follow-up questions. It’s just a poor one, because thinking about everything is Grifol’s first job. His second job is filtering out the thoughts that don’t make sense, and determining potential courses of action for the ones that hold water.

Assuming he’s not just up and admitting a dereliction of duty, you shouldn’t believe Grifol when he says that he hasn’t thought about something. He’s carrying three catchers for late-game pinch-running scenarios that aren’t especially likely to make or break a game, so he’s more likely overthinking everything. But while every manager says things that aren’t true to get people off his ass (or the ass of his players), usually they’re a little more sophisticated, charming or wacky with their approach. Ozzie Guillen loved to brag about how little work he did, but he had the good sense to win a World Series first.

Grifol just doesn’t have a whole lot of experience in a public-facing role. Between having Mike Matheny imposed on him with Kansas City and replacing the dysfunctional Tony La Russa administration in Chicago, he probably has logged plenty of time pointing out what somebody else has done wrong, but he didn’t have to implement or defend his own ideas outside of the interview stage. To that extent, he’s a sympathetic figure to somebody who writes about what the White Sox do wrong, but isn’t actually saddled with correcting them himself.

For those of us on the outside, if Grifol says he hasn’t thought about something, I’d assume that it’s been consuming him. It just rings hollower when the thing he purportedly hasn’t given any consideration to has been festering for weeks, leaving there no way to distinguish analysis paralysis from utter indifference.

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Add Grifol to the list of management stooges that need to go. Let’s see, that makes Jerry, Kenny, Rick, and now Grifol. He is completely clueless out there- but why shouldn’t he be- look who hired him. This FO gets everything wrong. It has just become a complete joke.

Al Kohallik

Worst FO in organized sports


The key point is not Pedro Grifol. 90% of all managers are the same. Batting Tim in the 8th spot isn’t going to fix anything. The damn problem is finding out what’s wrong with Tim Anderson. Hand injury, hand surgery, knee, shoulder. Is is possible his body has broken down? I think of Nomar Garciaparra and how quickly his career went from all-star to game over. This is a challenge for the front office. 60 day IL might be the answer. But, bottom line, this is a front office issue.

As Cirensica

Batting Tim in the 8th spot isn’t going to fix anything

Maybe not for Tim, but it can’t hurt the team the way he does by hitting near the top of the line-up.


Right, this is very simple to me with two paths:

1.) Is he still hurt? If so, put him on the IL with a rehab stint after to make sure he looks ok before taking him off the IL.

2.) If he’s not hurt, I have no problem with them having him play, especially when their other middle infield options aren’t great, but put him down in the order until something clicks.


1) Is TA injured? — No.
2) Why is he playing poorly? — Nagging injuries.
3) So he’s injured? — No.
4) Then what is causing his poor play? — Nagging injuries.

White Sox Management.

Al Kohallik

A riddle wrapped in a mystery in an enigma


He’s no Langdon Alger.


That’s the issue. Right from his first major interview in the Uber with Valentine before the Apple or TBS or whatever game, he showed us his true self. Grifol was 100% cliche and deceitful. He has never given us any insight into his strategies, roster construction, thoughts, etc. He has purposefully left us on the outside, ala Lovie, and we know how well things went for him.

There’s simply no reason to be this defensive or obtuse. He can’t go all Joel Q on us, he doesn’t have the street cred. This leaves everything up to observational analytics and that takes enough time for a sample size. The sample is now large enough that we can deduce a number of things.

+ He handles his clubhouse and lineup by catering to players and not making the hard choices it takes to win (which would actually command respect instead of whatever toxic culture he’s fermenting)

+ He can’t teach hitting or hitting disciplineHe doesn’t make players accountable for the performances or lack of

+His roster construction can be best described as inflexible (Ricky got the ax for inflexible pitching roster construction), and at worst, inept.

+His comments make it seem like he thinks he’s heavyweight champion of the world, when he’s actually the bum of the weak (double entendre intended).

I thought Ricky had a number of good characteristics. I can’t find any with Grifol.

Last edited 2 months ago by FishSox
As Cirensica

I have been done with Grifol for about 2 months now. He has no ideas. He is just another dull Robin Ventura that makes lineups, and says the things the FO wants to hear from their manager. Winning games becomes an unintended consequence that is nice to have but not expected.

King Joffrey

I remember a lot of comments in national media last year about what a wise contract Hahn had signed TA to, about what a bargain he was, and would be for the immediate future especially when compared to some of the mega contracts being doled out to other shortstops. I also remember TA expressing his awareness of this. I hate to even think about this, but I hope this issue hasn’t factored into his miserable performance this year.


Are you suggesting he might not be playing well because he feels underpaid? He will either be a free agent at the end of this season or have an option for $14 mil picked up and then be a free agent the following year. It would be much more lucrative to play well and it is more likely he is pressing because of it

As Cirensica

Maybe he is playing out of his player option, but that is also stupid because if he is a free agent in 2024 nobody will pay him 14M


In my opinion KJ, if Anderson has permitted disdain for the current contract to impact his performance he is not setting himself up well for any future deals.

King Joffrey

Agree with all responses. But Anderson’s funk seems to extend beyond the physical. And, yes, it is not setting him up well for future deals.


Well, it sure as hell isn’t going to help his case to get a new contract. With his body breaking down some and his personal problems I don’t think he’s going to get the contract he wants.
So the Sox brought Grifol and numerous assistants from the KC organization but didn’t they also “raid ” the Royals to get Getz too?
If Hahn/Williams decide to start another rebuild and JR lets them then it’s clear those 2 aren’t going to be fired after this season.


Grifol might be terrible at making decisions. He also might be relaying the lineup directives of the front office.

Either scenario speaks to the mire of this franchise.


Most of the time, when a front office is dictating the lineup to the manager, it’s analytically informed. An analytics based approach certainly wouldn’t have Anderson batting in the upper third.

Then again, how normal organizations operate is rarely relevant to the Sox.


I hope he’s TLR’s puppet, just for the sake of entertainment.


Pedro Grifol doesn’t seem to have any idea on how to manage an MLB team. The White Sox job may well be a career breaker for any future managerial aspirations. He fits well with this roster of under achievers.


I would have expected a team that appeared to be nearing the end of a contention window to choose a veteran manager who would hit the ground running and focus on getting whatever he could out of the team, even for possibly just a single season before taking a step back in trying to contend. They brought Montoyo along for the ride. I don’t know if they would have been better off just giving the job to him.


Well written. Appreciate the posts. Sox Machine will have my attention even if this team is a pile of self made burning poo with a couple of dudes responsible out of their element watching and analyzing how to put it out. “Lets try gas, its wet so it must put fire out right?” “Nah, gas prices are up, how about we let it run its course and go out naturally?” “Nature? Last time we tried the goat blood we landed Samardzija!”…no ones on the same page trying to put out the fire they started, but glad Sox Machine and the white sox content community are around through it anyways.


Anderson went to Driveline this past offseason. They really did a number on him.


I really really wanted to like Pedro Grifol. But, he’s just so White Sox that I can’t.

To Err is Herrmann

I have no idea who Pedro Grifol is or what he thinks. He seemed to me from the get-go a friendly positive thinker but more friend of the players than teacher. The only thing I can say is that his broken record non-responses are boring and annoying. It’s not like he has a secret plan to win the World Series he must protect.


Tell me more about this Handsome FanGraphs website.


Len and Gordo were hitting the TA hopium pipe yesterday talking about things like, hard hit foul balls maybe being a good sign, or a walk that occurred on 4 non competitive pitches, maybe being a good sign.

So, today he bats second.


Maybe that’s a sign…of impending doom.

Last edited 2 months ago by FishSox