CHICAGO -- Who will be the next White Sox manager?
That question has yet to be answered, and the organization is keeping the candidates quiet during this ongoing process. It will not be Houston bench coach Joe Espada, who interviewed for the position, but is out of the running as confirmed to MLB.com by a source this weekend. The White Sox have not confirmed the news.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn declined via text to comment on the managerial search until someone is named to replace Tony La Russa. La Russa had one year remaining on his contract, but left the job on Aug. 30 before a home game against the Royals due to health issues and decided not to return. Bench coach Miguel Cairo replaced La Russa, and Hahn said Cairo would be interviewed during his end of season press conference on Oct. 3. It is not known if that interview took place.
Espada and Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol were reported to have interviewed, and on Saturday, one-time White Sox manager and current television personality Ozzie Guillen confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times he had interviewed for the position this week. The White Sox had interest in Philadelphia hitting coach Kevin Long, as first reported by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, but Long currently is involved with the Phillies’ World Series title push.
Guillen’s candidacy has been the main focus of White Sox managerial rumor grist during this past week. Guillen masterfully guided Chicago to the 2005 World Series title in just his second year on the job, with the South Siders posting an 11-1 playoff record after winning 99 regular season games and leading the American League Central from start to finish. He actually did an even better job of managing in 2008, when an injury-riddled White Sox squad had to win a play-in Game No. 163 against the Twins to capture the division. Guillen's tenure with the White Sox ended following the 2011 season, after which he was part of a trade that made him manager of the Marlins.
His time in Miami represented his last action in a Major League dugout, during a somewhat tumultuous 2012 season when the Marlins finished 69-93. When La Russa took the job with the White Sox prior to the 2020 season, he had been out of the dugout since ’11 but still involved in baseball as Guillen has been.
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told Bob Nightengale of USA Today in 2017 that Guillen was a good manager and he had recommended him for several positions that opened up. But he didn’t think Guillen could return to the White Sox.
“I hope he ends up somewhere. He can help somebody,” Reinsdorf told Nightengale at the time. “He just can’t come back here. He burned some bridges when he left here.”
That philosophy might have changed, especially coming off one of the more disappointing seasons in recent memory for the franchise, with the projected division favorite finishing at 81-81. The White Sox need a right fit and a collaborative presence with the front office as manager in Year 4 of their competitive window, which has yielded just two playoff victories to date following a prolonged rebuild.