Last week, we at Sox On 35th surveyed the fans’ interest/thoughts on who they want the next manager to be as well as what qualities they would be looking for if they were in charge of hiring the next manager to lead the team. Thank you all for your responses!
Let’s get into the results. Some of them may be surprising – but others, not so much.
What qualities are most important to you in a managerial candidate?
There were a lot of different responses to this question among fans, but there were a lot of similar themes. Here are some of the most common answers:
- Spanish Speaking/Latino
- Outside of the Organization
- Analytics/Analytical Driven
- Holding players accountable
- Recent Playoff Experience/Success.
All of these qualities would, in some way or another, be present in the ideal manager for the 2023 White Sox. Additionally, many of these qualities are the same ones that Rick Hahn echoed in his end-of-the-season address. While not every manager is going to have these qualities, it is interesting to see that most people are on the same page regarding some of the critical values of the next manager.
How important is former major league managerial experience to you for the next White Sox manager?
The next question was asked about how important having previous major league managerial experience is, and there were five options to choose from.
Incredibly Important: 20 votes (26.3%) Somewhat Important: 27 votes (35.5%) Indifferent: 16 votes (21.1%) Not Very Important: 9 votes (11.8%) Not Important at All: 4 votes (5.3%)
The fan opinion is far from a consensus, but overall, the fair majority would prefer to see a manager come in with some experience leading a team successfully into the postseason. On the other hand, the minority really just wants the best person for the job, whether or not they have previous experience.
With the team confirmed to be interviewing Joe Espada (inexperienced), Pedro Grifoli (inexperienced), Miguel Cairo (somewhat experienced), and Ron Washington (very experienced), it appears that the White Sox are sticking to their word and not making the managerial experience a necessity. However, in the end, the 60%+ of fans who want an experienced manager may get their wish.
Who is your top managerial candidate and why?
This was the main question of our fan outreach, mostly because it is the biggest question surrounding fan conversation online. Below we listed the top three vote-getters, along with some fan explanations as to why they felt each candidate would be the best choice. Further below will be a list of all individuals who received a vote from fans.
Some of these probably won’t surprise you, especially #1…
Number 1: Ozzie Guillen
Ozzie received the most votes, with a total of 16. Guillen has been a consistent presence for White Sox fans since he left the dugout, as he has been doing the pre and post-game shows on NBC Sports Chicago. He provides his fiery opinions on there and has shown he still is the passionate guy who once was at the helm in the White Sox dugout.
Guillen lacks recent postseason success, which was a popular response among qualities, as he hasn’t managed since 2012 with the Miami Marlins (69-93). He hasn’t been in the dugout in over a decade, but as mentioned earlier, he has been in touch with the recency of the game due to his presence in the White Sox community. Guillen also fits one of the most popular responses of being Latino/Spanish speaking, which will definitely give him an advantage if he gets an interview.
Will Ozzie get the job? That is only a question the White Sox higher-ups can answer. The manner of Guillen’s exit in 2011 was rather controversial, and it’s unclear if relationships have mended themselves over the past 11 years. I’d probably give it a 30% chance at best.
Number 2: Sandy Alomar Jr.
Alomar Jr. was the second-highest vote-getter, receiving a total of 10 votes. He is a former White Sox player as well, just like Ozzie. However, he had a shorter stint, playing five seasons for the White Sox (2001-2004, 2006).
Alomar Jr. has been in the dugout as a coach since 2008. He started off as a catching instructor for the Mets from 2008-2009. He then got hired by the Cleveland Guardians to be the 1st Base Coach. He has been with the Guardians since 2010 and served as interim manager with a 3-3 record in 2012. Alomar Jr. would remain on the Guardians staff as a bench coach under Terry Francona. In 2020 Alomar Jr. took over as the interim head coach, this time for Francona, and led the Guardians to a playoff spot with a record of 28-18.
Alomar Jr. is another Spanish-speaking candidate and could definitely fit in well with the team he once played for. He also feels long overdue to earn a chance to lead his own team for the first time in his career. However, it is rather unlikely that Alomar Jr. takes the job, as he is probably waiting for the Guardians’ job to open up once Francona retires.
If Alomar Jr. decides he wants to interview for the White Sox job, however, then the White Sox would be wise to give him an interview.
Number 3: Matt Quatraro and Joe Espada
Both Quatraro and Espada got seven votes each. Quatraro currently serves as the bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays and has been in that role since 2019; he has been on the Rays’ staff since 2018. Before serving on the Rays staff, Quatraro was the Guardians’ assistant hitting coach from 2014-2017.
Quatraro does fit under the category of recent postseason experience, as he has now coached in two World Series and multiple postseasons with both the Rays and Guardians. The Rays are a team known for analytics, and again Quatraro seems to fit that build. He is currently on a staff under one of the game’s best managers, Kevin Cash, and it definitely seems like he should be a favorite for the White Sox job.
Quatraro probably gets the highest probability at around 65-70% for me because of his background. These types of things are very hard to predict, but Quatraro is probably the most likely out of this group of candidates.
The other candidate was Joe Espada, who is currently the bench coach for the Houston Astros, and he has been in this role since 2018. Espada has already been confirmed to have interviewed for the opening and seems to be a candidate on Rick Hahn’s radar.
Espada fits a lot of the qualifications mentioned earlier. He is Latino/Spanish-Speaking, has recent postseason experience, and is part of an analytically driven organization in the Houston Astros. Espada also has experience as a base coach with the New York Yankees and was on Guillen’s Marlins staff in 2012.
Espada fits almost all the same qualities as Quatraro and seems to be one of the more favored candidates. The likelihood that Espada gets the job is probably around 50-60% because ultimately, like Alomar Jr., Espada may be waiting for the Astros job to open up once Dusty Baker retires. Additionally, Espada will be a valued commodity with so many managerial spots open.
Other candidates who received votes were; Bruce Bochy (6), No preference (5), Joe Girardi (4), A.J. Pierzynski (4), A.J. Hinch (2), Carlos Beltran (2), Miguel Cairo (2), Joe Madden (2), Don Mattingly (1), Eduardo Perez (1), Mike Scioscia (1), Roberto Alomar (1), Ron Washington (1), and Will Venable (1).
Who are some other candidates you hope the White Sox would consider?
Many of the candidates chosen for some people’s number one option were used as the backup option for others. However, a popular name that was not selected as a first choice but as many’s second choice was Willie Harris. Harris is currently the Cubs’ third base coach and a former White Sox player. Harris’s name has recently popped up in rumors to be the new manager, and he also interviewed for the White Sox back in 2020 before they hired Tony La Russa.
Another popular choice was Curtis Granderson. Granderson is definitely an intriguing name to be in consideration. He is a Chicago native and could provide a different outlook on the team as a whole. Granderson is currently a host for the MLB on TBS and is highly regarded by many on that program. He definitely remains an interesting name to watch for this off-season.
Some other candidates named by fans were Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Mike Shildt, and Yadier Molina. At the end of the day, the White Sox should interview as many candidates as they possibly can before reaching a final decision. It doesn’t hurt to get as many different philosophies and outlooks on the team and the game of baseball.
What is the first question you’d ask any prospective managerial candidate?
There were a lot of different questions submitted. Here are some of the most common themes:
- What are your thoughts on analytics and how would you use them?
- How are you going to get the most out of your players?
- Why should players trust you?
- What are your thoughts on the current team?
- What went wrong in 2022 for the White Sox and what would you have done differently?
Here are some individual fan questions that stood out for the level of detail/creativity. Thanks to everyone who provided a question!
@daycr83: How do you implement analytics to resolve team roster/ideological flaws?
Matt V: How will you hold players accountable for their effort and professionalism?
@realchisoxfan: Give us your assessment of the ‘22 Sox
Tony C: Why should players trust you to lead them?
Rob E: How do you plan utilize the many different skills these players have? How do you plan to help these players like Robert, Moncada, Vaughn, Sheets, and even Giolito to reach their max potential?
@jacob_shiner: What concrete things would you have done differently for the 2022 Sox to increase wins?
Are there any coaches on the current White Sox staff you would retain?
It seems like the White Sox are going to let whoever the new manager is select their own staff. That means that no current coach on the White Sox is safe, for now, heading into the 2023 season.
The most popular coach who fans said they would keep is pitching coach Ethan Katz. He received a total of 40 votes, meaning more than half of the respondents decided that Katz should stay on next year’s staff.
The next highest vote-getter was the answer “no,” which after this past season is understandable, and leaving it up to the new manager to get some fresh minds in the dugout is a fair viewpoint. However, the new manager is unlikely to completely clean house, as they will likely want to keep a few familiar faces around to ensure some cultural continuity.
Miguel Cario was the 3rd highest vote-getter and the only other coach to receive double-digit votes. Cairo received 10 votes, and after stepping in as the interim manager for Tony La Russa, it makes sense that folks would want him back next year. Cairo provided a different voice of reason for the White Sox at the helm of the dugout, and he started to bring back the accountability to the team that was lacking all season.
Other staff members who received votes were: Daryl Boston (8), Joe McEwing (6), Jerry Narron (3), Curt Hasler (1), Shelley Duncan (1), Miguel Gonzalez (1), and Luis Sierra (1). Something to note here is that Frank Menechino did not receive a vote out of over 70 responses.
How much do you trust the White Sox to make the correct managerial decision for this club?
The responses to our final question here probably won’t shock you:
High Level of Trust: 4 votes (5.3%) Some Level of Trust: 10 votes (13.2%) Neutral: 11 votes (14.5%) Little Level of Trust: 35 votes (46.1%) No Trust at All: 16 votes (21.1%)
Most fans here agree that they don’t trust the White Sox to make the right hire. It is rightfully understandable after bringing back Tony LaRussa, which most fans did not agree with, especially after learning more about the process behind the hire. However, to their credit, by all accounts this far, it appears the team is actually undergoing a comprehensive managerial search. Whether that results in the correct hire remains to be seen – but fan pessimism here has been more than earned by the team.
With the White Sox making their second manager change during a contention window, it’s more important than ever for the team to make the right decision – with the smallest margin of error with which to do so. It was definitely interesting to see everyone’s different thoughts and perspectives on this decision. There were a lot of common themes throughout the questions, so it’s always nice to see that fans are coming toward a similar consensus. Just as interesting, however, were those who gave unique responses or came up with outside-the-box candidates for the team.
Thank you to everyone who shared their input!
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Featured Image: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports