Newest MLB managers represent alternate White Sox universes

Joe Espada (Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports)

While Chris Getz attracted all the White Sox headlines from the truncated general managers meetings by saying with unusually bluntness, “I don’t like our team,” I initially missed something Pedro Grifol said during a media session discussing the White Sox’s revamped coaching staff.

In explaining the addition of Drew Butera to the newly minted position of catching coach, Daryl Van Schouwen relayed this quote:

Grifol calls Butera “one of the up-and-coming minds in the game.”

“I’m looking forward to him working with the catchers and game-planning and the game-management aspect, which I thought we were really poor at last year,” Grifol said.

Two things are very funny about this:

No. 1: Grifol waiting until November to say it, well after Yasmani Grandal became a free agent, because it’s a continuation of his refusal to say anything while it could offend a player with more than one year of service time.

No. 2: It pairs well as a “how it started/how it’s going” meme with the Mike Tosar quote that James Fegan fielded last December: “Our preparation on a daily basis will be elite.”

Tosar is still on the staff, although he’s now an assistant hitting coach, which Van Schouwen referenced with a detail that seems both extraneous and necessary:

Tosar, who went to high school with Grifol and coached with him with the Royals, will be the assistant hitting coach.

Because the White Sox are sticking with/stuck with Grifol, White Sox fans can only watch the coaching carousel from the sidelines. It’s unfortunate, because many of the participants represent “Sliding Doors” scenarios that could’ve resulted in a White Sox team that looked quite a bit different on the field.

The coveted free agent: When you factor in both money and immediate futures, I don’t think the White Sox could’ve made a more appealing offer to Craig Counsell than the Cubs did. Still, Bruce Bochy was theoretically a possibility when Jerry Reinsdorf saddled Tony La Russa on the franchise. Paying for the best doesn’t always work out as well as Bochy did — see Joes Maddon and Girardi for details — but thanks to Grifol, it couldn’t have turned out any worse.

The forward-thinking team’s bench coach: Joe Espada, the Astros bench coach who interviewed with the White Sox during the cycle that resulted in Grifol, found a better job by waiting a year, as he’ll take over for the retired Dusty Baker in Houston. The so-far-unsuccessful transplant of Matt Quatraro from Tampa Bay to Kansas City is probably the far more accurate comparison for how such a hire would’ve affected the White Sox, but I will somewhat curious to see how Espada conducts himself as the man in charge.

A proven players manager: I thought Ron Washington was a great fit for the post-La Russa White Sox because of the effort level he seems to inspire from his players, both with the Rangers and as an assistant with the A’s and Braves. He showed that same capacity in his introductory media conference with the Angels:

Also, Washington takes over an Angels team that similar to the White Sox in the sense that it’s never quite clear how much the owner is meddling.

For instance, the day before Washington’s introduction, Angels beat writer Sam Blum wrote a story about how the organization was overhauling its pitching development in the minor leagues apparently because Troy Percival dropped in and didn’t like what he saw.

“I’m not one that’s big on using the iPads,” said Percival, who spent six seasons as the head coach at UC Riverside. “I understand it. I had to understand it through college coaching. I just feel like we need to have coaches with eyes that can see things and put their hands on people and fix them. It’s really difficult to look at an iPad and think that it can make the adjustments that it needs to make.”

Percival said he did not call on anyone to be fired, and merely shared his observations and opinions with Angels farm director Joey Prebynski. But those words seemed to carry weight with the team’s decision-makers. Shortly thereafter, the Angels let go of the two highest-ranking pitching instructors in their farm system: pitching coordinator Buddy Carlyle and pitching performance coordinator Dylan Axelrod. People briefed on the changes said Percival’s frustration with his visit played at least a factor in the Angels’ decision to oust them.

The Angels have struggled with player development, and Percival was obviously a great major-league reliever, but his results at UC Riverside don’t suggest that he’s the guy to fix it, and iPads probably aren’t the culprit. It’s not difficult to imagine Reinsdorf meddling in a similar fashion — or La Russa, who is still bopping around the organization as an active consultant — so I’ll probably be watching Washington’s progress the closest in hopes of a kinda-sorta simulation for what kind of difference he could’ve made on the South Side.

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Alfornia Jones

Mechanical issues aside, a good portion of the Sox’ poor approach could be solved by getting two ideas across: 1) There are many hitting counts/situations where you absolutely can not swing the bat. 2) There are many pitching counts/situations where you absolutely have to throw a strike. The hitters don’t draw enough walks and the pitchers issue too many walks. Fixing these two things need to be priority #1 & #2.

The pitcher issue is harder because maybe some/most of our pitchers can’t throw a strike on command (this is called a dilemma), but sending up hitters to not swing should be readily fixable.


The 1st issue is what drives me absolutely crazy with this team. I lost count how many times in 22-23 that they would have a SP on the ropes after they walked 2 or 3 guys and the next guy up would swing at the first pitch and ground into a DP or end up striking out and said pitcher would regain form and throw 7 IP of 2 run ball.

Last edited 17 days ago by BenwithVen

Our hitters probably lost (the) count as well.

As Cirensica

One problem I see is that opposing pitchers don’t fear the White Sox hitters except one or two hitters. I see pitchers throwing a lot of strikes so taking a walk comes a bit difficult. However, I think this is the “eye test”, and I think there is a lot more than what the eyes see, and I wouldn’t be surprised if stats show that the White Sox are the worst team in swinging balls (out of the strike zone) which a quick look at Fansgraph…confirms that the White Sox were the worst at O-Swing%… I was surprised to see the Guardians as the 3rd worst. I thought they were a high contact team.


There is a similar problem on the pitching side. If velocity and/or stuff aren’t good enough to allow the pitcher to get away with throwing strikes, then the pitchers won’t want to throw it in the zone. But it is hard to get ahead of hitters or put hitters away when the pitchers insist on living outside or at the edge of the zone. We need better pitchers, not simply better command.


Counsell and Washington were my top 2 choices to replace Grifol, and Espada would probably have been 3rd. Plus the Indians got Stephen Vogt, who was very well thought of as a future manager. So at least 4 good candidates were available, and the Sox chose to stay with Grifol. How pathetic.

Joliet Orange Sox

I agree. Grifol is fireable at any moment next season since he’s had a chance. Vogt (whom I am not optimistic about) would be hard to fire till he’s had at least a full year.


I think that Getz is clearly saving Grifol just to throw everyone a bone and fire him before the break next year. I’m keeping an open mind on Getz and hoping for the best. I’ll settle for an entertaining team that I can root for.


Getz has already proven that he is either dumb, or another Jerry yes-man sissy, by not firing Grifol. As if being assistant to Hahn during the fastest demolition of any good team I can think of did not tell us all we needed to know already.

Just like the hiring of La Russa, they will never escape paying the price for promoting Getz instead of getting a real damn GM.

Last edited 17 days ago by LamarHoyt_oncrack

They are keeping Gri-Fail, because TLR is still collecting a check. By doing the right thing and replacing Gri-Fail… Ebenezer Jerry would have to pay three different managers. And, that is not happening under his watch.

Gri-Fail was one year into probably a three year contract (guessing, because Sox don’t disclose terms on front office/managerial contracts). After 2024, TLR’s manager contract should be off the books and Gri-Fail should only have one year left remaining. Jerry will reluctantly agree to fire him… but it will be another schlub that replaces him. A first time hire with little to no experience. Definitely not and experienced MLB manager with a proven track record.


IMHO, there’s no way Larussa hands around without having a large say on what happens. It won’t even register a blink with me to find out later that he is Getz’s boss.

That’s JR showing is all what a great stable genius he is.


You are probably right. Look what TLR did in Arizona before they finally said enough was enough. Problem though, it took the D-backs almost 10-years to recover from TLR.


What did he do?


Recover? He took over a 64 win team and got 79 wins in the first year and had 93 wins and was in the playoffs by the third. They went from 118 HR to 154, 190 and 220. They won 82 and 85 in the 2 years after he resigned so they recovered just fine.


Let me add an extraneous and necessary addition to the other quote.

“I’m looking forward to him working with the catchers and game-planning and the game-management aspect, which I thought we were really poor at last year,” said Grifol who was a catcher during his nine year minor league playing career.


🚨 Old Friend Alert 🚨

Shortly thereafter, the Angels let go of the two highest-ranking pitching instructors in their farm system: pitching coordinator Buddy Carlyle and pitching performance coordinator Dylan Axelrod.


Every time Grifol opens his mouth I become more confident in my loathing of the Getz promotion.
1) Getz made the decsion to keep him. In which case he’s a moron.
2) Getz was forced to keep him, meaning JR and/or TL are making important decisions they aren’t equipped for.
This franchise is an embarrassment.


Spot on. Getz deserves no free pass for Grifol inexcusably still being around. Getz has as much chance of being a good GM as this team did of winning 90 games this year.

But Getz, like Hahn, is just a symptom of Reinsdorf disease.


Think it’s a bit premature to harshly judge Getz yet (just my opinion), I don’t doubt for a second Jerry told him “I’m not paying multiple managers so Pedro stays until All Star break minimum.” Don’t think there is a Sox fan that wants Pedro to manage another game but can’t say it’s all Getz’s call to keep him.

So far I’ve found his honest criticism of the team mildly refreshing, I’d like to see what he can do player wise before passing judgement.

You’re spot on this team is embarrassing and worst run in the league. That all stems from the miser sitting in the top office that runs the team like a tax law firm, trying to find every loophole and cheap option available.


As Jim and others have pointed out, Getz’s criticisms of the team are fine, but there’s a problem with the messenger. It seems to have slipped Getz’s mind that he was high up in the front office that created this mess and would have been shown the door along with Hahn and Williams in any other organization.


I wish he said “I don’t like how our young players have developed.”

As Cirensica

Vastly underrated comment


When the good, qualified outsiders don’t want to work for the org, the only people left who can be hired to fix it are literally the same people who broke it.

I’ve literally had this exact conversation with a client of mine this week. Their reputation precedes them and yet they want to do a national search for new leadership. Such searches usually end after 6 to 9 months with an internal hire. I’ve seen it time and time again.


With his criticism comes a stated desire to find players who they can direct to bunt and hit and run.
I don’t find that very encouraging.


Getz was on MLB Network. Nothing really new, but he really hammered home that 2B, SS and SP are going to be the focus of the offseason. Said he may have to get creative, but nothing on what that really meant.

Right Size Wrong Shape

It means Gavin Sheets playing SS.

As Cirensica

My money is RF


Or pitching. Who needs Ohtani when we got Gavin Sheets!


So, these alternative White Sox universes … how does one get there?

King Joffrey

And can one ever get back?

As Cirensica

Just follow another team as well. The Bluejays give me some joy.


I’ve always had a good time going to a D-backs or Brewers game.


Look for the triangle down Bermuda way.


The last few weeks of moves and public comments have made it pretty clear that Grifol was foisted on Getz, and he needs to wait until it becomes more clear (apparently to JR) that Grifol is not up to the job.


I am willing to bet Ebenezer Jerry knows Gri-Fail is not up to the task. It is simply a matter of money for Ebenezer.

Fire Gri-Fail now and I am paying three sets of manager contracts (TLR, Gri-Fail & the new schlub/bum). That is how Ebenezer looks at it. Definitely not what is in the best interest for my ball club.

Last edited 17 days ago by Chris

And in the last few weeks Getz has made it pretty clear that Grifol is not part of his inner circle/emerging brain trust and will be easy to jettison if he does not see improvement in Grifol.


Made clear by retaining, and hiring more, ex KC Royals to work with Pedro?


Or, as shown above, allowing Pedro to keep a high school teammate.


What specifically has made that clear? Getz has a history of being bad at every front office job he’s held, so why put it past him to make terrible decisions of his own accord?


Benetti allegedly said he wanted more respect from the White Sox. Allegedly Brooks Boyer said, “Respect as a normal human being or as Jason Benetti? I guess that may be why Jason is now a Tiger.