The White Sox interviewed Astros bench coach Joe Espada today as part of their managerial search, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Chicago has also reached out to Braves third base coach Ron Washington, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN (on Twitter). It isn’t clear whether Washington plans to interview.
Espada becomes the second known candidate to sit down with Chicago. ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reported last week that Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol also had an interview set up with the Sox at some point. Both Espada and Grifol also interviewed for the Marlins vacancy this week, and the latter is a candidate to assume Kansas City’s vacant managerial position as well.
The 47-year-old Espada has never managed in the majors, but he’s certainly drawn a fair bit of interest on that front. The Puerto Rico native was reportedly a finalist in the Mets search that eventually led to Buck Showalter last winter, and he’s gotten past looks from the A’s, Giants, Cubs and Twins, among others. While he’s not gotten a managerial nod, Espada has held the bench coach role for a number of excellent Houston teams going back to 2018. He’s worked under both A.J. Hinch and Dusty Baker, demonstrating the value multiple skippers have placed on his input.
Over the weekend, Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote that the Sox preferred to hire a veteran manager to replace Tony La Russa. The interviews with Grifol and Espada suggest they’re not ruling out first-time candidates early in the process, at least. Still, it’s notable that Washington does have a fair bit of experience in the role. He managed the Rangers between 2007-14, leading Texas to back-to-back AL pennants in 2011-12. The 70-year-old has spent the past six seasons on the Atlanta staff as Brian Snitker’s third base coach.