ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Chicago White Sox have an agreement in place to make 3-time World Series Champion Tony La Russa their next manager. The 76-year-old is poised to help the White Sox turn the corner from young up-and-comers to, well, wise and experienced champions of the AL Central.
Some members of the organization are already upset because of his age, so La Russa will need a strong start in 2021. If the Sox can get hot while the season is young, his experience may just lead to some short-term success.
The hiring of Tony La Russa has ruffled feathers in the White Sox organization. A number of employees have concerns about his ability to connect with younger players and how he will adapt to the field after being away 9 years.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 29, 2020
This was a Jerry Reinsdorf decision. Simple as that.
After decades (and decades) in the business, La Russa has learned what it takes to win, which is exactly what those on the south side of Chicago want–to win. Now.
Guys like Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu have developed quickly, so the White Sox need a “win-now” manager who can lead them. La Russa is a winner. He proved it back when he managed the Sox the first time in the early and mid 80s. But he won’t be managing in a decade. The Sox clearly don’t see him as a long-term prospect. Best case scenario is that the White Sox win the division next year and then change leadership soon after.
Why other teams aren’t doing this
Tony La Russa’s age has kept him from landing another high profile management job, not his pedigree. Young people always think they know everything, but those who make millions of dollars a year are sometimes even less receptive to the wisdom of their elders than those making minimum wage. Old-school mentalities have a place in Major League Baseball, but men old enough for assisted living homes don’t.
The generational gap between La Russa and his players is largely why some in the organization disagree with this hire. I disagree with it too. La Russa grew up with The Wizard Of Oz, while Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson grew up playing Call Of Duty. Generational differences can have some advantages, but they also have some downsides.
Tony La Russa, a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, the third-winningest manager in baseball history, a three-time World Series champion and a four-time winner of the Manager of the Year Award, has been named the new manager of the Chicago White Sox. pic.twitter.com/RKP24rleHP— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) October 29, 2020
Still, regardless of who’s in charge, the White Sox should be competitive next season. The injured Tim Anderson and other young guys like flame-thrower Michael Kopech are expected to make major contributions. No one should sleep on the White Sox, especially their new manager.