Sep 29, 2022 - Sports

Once-promising White Sox season now a debacle

Photo of a baseball manager talking to the media.

Tony La Russa talks to reporters in June. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Multiple White Sox reporters are writing that manager Tony La Russa is not expected to return next year, citing health issues.

Why it matters: The 2022 White Sox were supposed to compete for a World Series, but are instead barreling toward a sub-.500 finish.

  • The team has already been eliminated from the playoffs.

Context: The Sox started a rebuild in 2017, pointing to the Theo Epstein-led Cubs as a blueprint. They collected young talent full of swagger, including Tim Anderson and Eloy Jiménez.

  • Two seasons ago, owner Jerry Reinsdorf fired manager Rick Renteria and shocked the league by hiring the then-76-year-old La Russa.
  • The Sox won the AL Central last year but got trounced in the ALDS by the Astros.

What they're saying: "It's hard to remember a Chicago team that had an easier layup than winning this AL Central," CHGO Sports head of content Kevin Kaduk tells Axios.

  • "The city has had bigger sports disappointments, but this is still near the top."

Zoom in: This season, La Russa made head-scratching lineup moves, in-game strategy blunders and even fell asleep in the dugout.

  • He stepped away from the team for a medical issue this month and never returned.
  • "Right when a winning edge was essential, the owner hired an energy vampire as manager, and he systematically sucked all the life from the clubhouse," 670 The Score host Matt Spiegel tells Axios.

Reality check: It's not all the manager's fault.

  • The 2022 White Sox had multiple serious injuries to the seventh-highest payroll in baseball.
  • And despite being a home run team, they don't have a single player who has hit 20 this season.

What's next: Beyond reportedly selecting a new manager, The Sox must make decisions about star first baseman Jose Abreu and the glaring holes in their lineup.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: It's baseball, and sometimes the best teams lose. But this? This season is worse than the year Sale cut up his jersey.

  • Sox fans know that's bad.


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