News came down on Wednesday night that the White Sox received permission from the Angels to interview Tony La Russa for their managerial opening. The 76-year-old looks more-and-more like a front-runner to land the job. For his own part, La Russa is reportedly excited about his upcoming conversations with the White Sox, per Bruce Levine of 670 the Score (via Twitter).
La Russa managed the White Sox from 1979 until 1986 – his first managerial role in the majors – so there’s certainly a nostalgic angle that makes sense here. He fits the bill as laid out by GM Rick Hahn as well: He’s a voice technically coming from outside the organization, and he hard-checks the championship experience box. La Russa has six times managed a team into the World Series, winning the ring in 1989 with Oakland and in 2006 and 2011 with St. Louis. He retired after winning the 2011 World Series with the Cardinals. He spent the past season as a special advisor to the Angels, and the White Sox’ opening is an appealing position, even without the circle-of-life angle.
For the White Sox part, Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has expressed regret in the past for allowing his GM-at-the-time Ken Harrelson to fire La Russa midway through 1986. What’s more, La Russa and Reinsdorf were often seen watching White Sox games together prior to 2020, writes the Athletic’s James Fegan. A committed La Russa must be a tantalizing possibility for ownership, but the White Sox are still early in their search process, per Fegan.
In the meantime, Hahn has his hands full trying to upgrade right field and the starting rotation. Though they have a lot of young pitching for whom they are closely tracking development (Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning, Dylan Cease, Garrett Crochet, Jonathan Stiever, Michael Kopech, and others), Hahn doesn’t plan on just waiting for the kids to grab the reins, per this piece from Fegan. Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Dunning are slotted into the rotation, but they may explore outside the organization for back-end upgrades. The White Sox have no shortage of guys who could very capably fill out those last two rotation spots, but with the Twins and Indians set to compete again, their margin for error may again be slim.