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Managerial mayhem

The White Sox skipper search drags on, and fans are left to decipher the mixed messages

Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox
Ozzie Guillén has either been interviewed for the White Sox job, will get an interview, or is being kept out of the loop by the front office — it’s anybody’s guess!
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

When Tony La Russa announced he would not be returning as the White Sox skipper for the 2023 season, GM Rick Hahn assured fans there would be a real managerial search this time around. The narrative was expanded upon, with Hahn saying targeted candidates would be ones with recent championship experience and did not have to be tied to the White Sox. And yet, here we are 20 days later, with rumors swirling on the South Side about candidates who do and don’t fall into this criteria.

Oh, and you may remember that this criteria is what Hahn laid out exactly two years ago, before abruptly turning about and hiring La Russa without a sniff of a search.

Fans have been left to decipher tweets and reports from “sources,” so let’s break down the most recent reports and speculations from inside 35th and Shields.

First up, Bruce Bochy. The White Sox front office was able to cross this candidate off of their list, as the former San Francisco Giants manager, still fairly fresh off of his “farewell” retirement tour, signed a three-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Shortly after Bochy was crossed off the list, it was reported that Matt Quatraro, current bench coach of the Tampa Bay Rays, interviewed with both the Royals and the White Sox. Quatraro was the assistant hitting coach for the Guardians from 2014 to 2017, and his current club in Tampa Bay has made the playoffs in the last four seasons. Championship experience? Check. Outside of the White Sox organization? Check.

Things got interesting on Friday afternoon, when reports surfaced that Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada would be named the next manager of the White Sox.

Espada is young, has been gaining championship experience under Dusty Baker since 2018, and is outside of the White Sox organization. It makes too much sense. There could be a wrinkle to this plan, however. There is some speculation that if Dusty Baker finally gets a World Series ring this season, he will retire. It would make sense that Espada would then be promoted to Astros manager. This narrative will have to play out after the 2022 World Series is over.

Then, we get to the Ozzie Guillén rumors. Three different dialogues emerged on Friday afternoon: One, that he has already interviewed for the position; another, that he will interview for the position next week; a third, that he will not even get (or accept) an interview.

Guillén did bring a World Series to the White Sox in 2005, but burned many a bridge during his time as the South Side skipper. Ozzie has spent the last few seasons with Chuck Garfien doing pre- and postgame shows for NBC Sports Chicago. Recent championship experience? Certainly not. Outside of the White Sox organization? That’s a funny joke.

It has also been reported that Ron Washington, former Texas Rangers skipper and current Atlanta Braves third base coach, and Pedro Grifol, current Kansas City Royals bench coach, have been contacted by the organization. Washington, while not young, does have a 2021 World Series title with the Braves under his belt. Grifol has been with K.C. for 10 years as hitting coach, catching coach, and now bench coach. The Royals did win a World Series in 2015, but beyond that have been below average.

MLB currently has three managerial vacancies across the league: the White Sox, Miami Marlins and Kansas City Royals. This isn’t the first time rumors about the White Sox search have emerged, and it likely will not be the last.

When the next set of secret code needs to be deciphered, you know where you can find us.