After failing to guide the White Sox to a World Series Championship in 2021, Tony La Russa may have another crack at it.
According to multiple reports this afternoon, the 77-year-old is expected to return as the team’s manager next season. Though the White Sox have not made any sort of official announcement, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale squashed any hope of the former Cardinal skipper filling St. Louis’ new vacancy by saying that La Russa is “definitely returning” to the South Side. Less than an hour later, ESPN published a report saying a source confirmed the same to them.
La Russa’s future with the team has been questioned ever since the Sox were crushed and eliminated by the Houston Astros in this year’s ALDS. Though the 77-year-old told media following the series that he had the desire to continue managing beyond this season, he acknowledged the decision is up to the front office and players.
“The process I’ve used — well, once I had a little security, probably about the fifth or sixth year — is: Do they want you back?” he said. “You don’t want to come back (just) because you got a contract. I would just leave if they don’t want you back. (If) they say yes, then you ask the players. They should choose who they want to manage. If you get both of those, then you check yourself.”
Based on player press conferences over the past few days, it sounds like La Russa has the support he needs. Both first baseman Jose Abreu and shortstop Tim Anderson each expressed their desire for him to return to the dugout.
“He did a great job coming in and being a part of what we’re trying to do,” Anderson said in his press conference today. “I couldn’t be more happy with what he did. The relationship was great, overall, with the players. Hopefully he can step right back in and push us next year and make these decisions that he did. He did a great job overall, and I was very pleased with how he handled it.”
“…I’m pretty sure he’s going to come back,” Abreu added through a translator during his media availability. “He won’t leave us alone. He’s going to be with us.”
La Russa originally came out of retirement this past offseason and signed a multi-year deal to manage for the first time since 2011. During his prior 33 seasons as a Major League manage, his teams made 14 postseason appearances, won 12 division titles, six pennants and claimed three World Series championships. Since winning his final World Series in St. Louis, he also served as a baseball executive with Major League Baseball (2012-13), the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-17), the Boston Red Sox (2017-19) and the Los Angeles Angels (2019-2020) before re-joining the White Sox.
Of course, Nightengale has been notoriously known for saying one thing while the complete opposite usually rings true. Because of that, we suggest waiting for official word from Rick Hahn or a team spokesperson before accepting the news to be entirely true.
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