November 1st, 2022
CHICAGO — Pedro Grifol will be announced as the new White Sox manager later this week, multiple sources told MLB.com on Tuesday. The White Sox have not confirmed the hire, which originally was reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Grifol, 52, marks the first managerial hire without organization DNA since Gene Lamont was brought in for the 1992 season. Jerry Manuel, who managed the White Sox from 1998-2003, had served one season as a scout for the White Sox in 1985 before getting the job.
General manager Rick Hahn mentioned the team being too insular in some of their previous hires during his end-of-season news conference on Oct. 3. He pointed out that connection certainly would not be a requirement this time around.
“Ideally, it’s someone who is an excellent communicator,” Hahn said of managerial candidates one month ago. “It’s someone who understands the way the game has grown and evolved in the last decade or so, but at the same time, obviously, respect for old-school sensibilities is going to be important as well.”
During that conversation, Hahn also mentioned the ideal candidate is “someone who has recent experience in the dugout with an organization that had contended for championships.” Grifol served as the Royals’ bench coach for manager Mike Matheny over the past three seasons as Kansas City was rebuilding, but he has been part of the organization since May 30, 2013. He held the position of catching coach from 2014-17, with the Royals going to the World Series in 2014 and winning it all in ’15.
Royals catcher Salvador Perez was selected to start for the American League in the All-Star Game from 2014-18, winning four Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers while Grifol was the catching coach. Grifol also interviewed for the vacant Royals managerial spot, but that job ultimately went to Matt Quatraro.
This managerial spot opened when Tony La Russa decided not to return for the third and final year of his contract. La Russa, who guided the White Sox to a 2021 AL Central title, left the team on Aug. 30 due to health issues related to his pacemaker and did not return. Ozzie Guillen, who managed the White Sox from 2004-11 and won a World Series title in ’05, was one of the candidates interviewed, as were Houston bench coach Joe Espada, Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza and Miguel Cairo, who went from bench coach to acting White Sox manager after La Russa left his post.
Pitching coach Ethan Katz is expected back in the same role for the White Sox, as is assisting pitching coach/bullpen coach Curt Hasler. Changes are expected within the rest of the staff.
Charlie Montoyo will be the next White Sox bench coach, a Major League source told MLB.com. Montoyo had a 236-236 record over four seasons as Blue Jays manager from 2019 until he was relieved of his duties in ’22.
The first Major League managing job for Grifol comes with a chance to win immediately but also with pressure brought on by the high expectations. The 2022 season was one of the most disappointing White Sox endeavors in recent memory, with a team picked by many as a preseason World Series contender mired in mediocrity from basically the outset and finishing at 81-81.
But Grifol appears to be that perfect mix of analytic knowledge based with old-school sensibility, as well as a collaborative part of the process with his coaching staff and the front office.