TODAY: The Angels have granted the White Sox permission to interview La Russa, Nightengale tweets.
OCTOBER 12: Despite earning their first playoff berth since 2008 this season, the White Sox have decided to make major changes in their dugout. The team parted ways with manager Rick Renteria and longtime pitching coach Don Cooper on Monday, leaving at least two significant holes in its coaching staff.
When discussing the White Sox’s vacancy at manager with reporters Monday, GM Rick Hahn said the club plans on finding someone with recent championship pedigree to replace Renteria, and that person’s likely to come from outside the organization, per Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Unsurprisingly, then, former Astros manager A.J. Hinch has emerged as a possibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
Hinch helped lead Houston to a championship in 2017, but that accomplishment has been marred by a sign-stealing scandal that caused Major League Baseball to suspend him for this season and Houston to part ways with him after last year. But Hinch’s suspension will expire after the World Series, and he has already drawn interest from Detroit – a Chicago AL Central rival that’s also looking for a manager – so he could get back in the game in short order.
It also wouldn’t be shocking to see Alex Cora – Hinch’s bench coach in ’17 – receive consideration, but the White Sox haven’t shown interest in Cora yet, according to Nightengale. Cora also had to sit out this season, but he is only two years removed from winning a title as Boston’s manager in 2018.
There also seems to be a possibility that the White Sox won’t opt for a recent major league manager to fill the role. Rather, one of their former skippers, 76-year-old Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, could be their answer. In an unexpected twist, the White Sox plan to reach out to La Russa, reports Nightengale, who adds that the position intrigues the four-time Manager of the Year. Since managing the White Sox, Cardinals and Athletics from 1979-2011 and combining for three World Series titles (one in Oakland, two in St. Louis), La Russa has worked in the front offices of the Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Angels. As Nightengale notes, La Russa is close friends with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.