The Chicago White Sox have reportedly found their next manager: 52-year-old Pedro Grifol, who has been on the Kansas City Royals coaching staff since 2013. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the White Sox are expected to announce the hiring of Grifol late this week.
Pedro Grifol, longtime coach with the Royals, is expected to be the next White Sox manager, an announcement that could come later this week.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 1, 2022
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that Grifol is the only minority candidate to be hired for a managerial or GM position this offseason.
The Chicago #Whitesox found their manager and plan to announce after the World Series they’re hiring #Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol after an extensive search, as @Buster_ESPN 1st reported. Grifol will be the 1st minority manager or GM/head of baseball ops hired this winter
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 1, 2022
Grifol, 52, is a baseball lifer. He played catcher as a Miami high schooler and then for the Seminoles at Florida State University. He was drafted by the Twins in 1991 which kicked off a nine-year minor league career. He began managing in the minors shortly after his playing career ended, then began working for the Seattle Mariners their minor league instruction coordinator. Three years later he was promoted to director of minor league operations, leaving for the Royals in 2013 after eight years.
This hire marks a sharp departure for the White Sox in one specific area: previous connection to the team. For nearly two decades, the White Sox have hired managers with previous connections to the team. Their past four managers, Ozzie Guillen, Robin Ventura, Rick Renteria, and Tony La Russa, had either played for, coached, or managed the team before being hired as the manager. Grifol has absolutely zero previous connection to the White Sox, so he'll be going in completely fresh.
The White Sox need some fixing
The situation he's walking into won't be an easy one to fix, though. Grifol is replacing La Russa, who took a promising team and kicked them into a destructive, unproductive tailspin in less than two seasons at the helm. La Russa was hired before the start of the 2021 season in one of the more shocking managerial hires the sport has seen in awhile. La Russa, 78, hadn't managed a major league team since 2011 and had virtually no experience with the young players of today's game, players which make up the majority of the White Sox's roster.
The White Sox won 93 games under La Russa in 2021, and made it to the playoffs before being eliminated in the ALDS. But the 2022 team was nothing like that. Between injuries, inconsistent play, La Russa's puzzling (and sometimes indefensible) managerial decisions, and the reportedly deteriorating relationship between La Russa and his clubhouse, the 2022 White Sox never had a chance. They finished 81-81, a distant second place in the AL Central.
La Russa left the team in late in the season due to a medical issue and was replaced by bench coach Miguel Cairo, who managed the team for the rest of the season. As The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported, a number of coaches aren't being asked back for the 2023 season. It's not known if now-former interim manager Cairo, who was reportedly popular among players, is among them.