What do we know about the White Sox’ search for a new baseball boss?
Oh, and also everything.
Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t expected to speak anytime soon after firing both Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn on Tuesday and launching a makeover of the baseball department at 35th and Shields. Without the chairman laying out any parameters for what he’s looking for in a replacement, trying to figure out who could succeed Williams and Hahn as the “single voice” the team said it’s looking for — and anticipates having in place by the end of the season, fewer than six weeks from now — is impossible.
Until you read USA Today.
Bob Nightengale, who was all over the team’s stunning managerial hire of Tony La Russa three years ago, reported Wednesday morning — just hours after the shocking end to nearly two and a half decades of stability atop the baseball department — that assistant general manager Chris Getz is expected to be promoted to Hahn’s old job and that former Royals boss Dayton Moore could join the front office in a “key” position, the two described as “overwhelming favorites” to take control of baseball operations.
So that’s it then?
Much like the truncated search for a new manager after Rick Renteria was fired in 2020, this seems to be getting off on similar footing. Back then, Hahn promised a sweeping search that would move outside the organization, the possibilities potentially endless in the quest for a new voice. Instead, Reinsdorf moved to give the job to La Russa, who while far from the monster fans envisioned he’d be at the time of the hire, was chock full of “White Sox DNA” after his first stint in the manager’s chair in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the immediate wake of Williams and Hahn being let go Tuesday evening, fans speculated dreamily about who could come in from the outside and provide a new direction for a franchise that hasn’t done much winning since the World Series season in 2005, nearly two decades ago.
Instead, the morning after, the reported favorite for the job is someone who’s worked under Williams and Hahn for the last seven years.
Getz played for the White Sox during his major league career, which instantly segued to a front-office role with the Royals in 2015, the year they won the World Series. He was there for one more season before returning to the White Sox, coming aboard in 2017 as the head of player-development, adding the title of assistant GM in 2021.
Getz’s days in the Royals’ front office came under Moore’s leadership. Moore put together the Royals teams that won back-to-back AL pennants in 2014 and 2015 and won the whole thing in 2015. His lengthy tenure there ended after last season, and he’s currently an advisor in the Rangers’ front office.
The current White Sox manager, of course, is a longtime veteran of the Royals himself, and Pedro Grifol worked under both Moore and Getz. According to Nightengale, Grifol’s job is safe, and while it would seem premature to assume a new department head would come to that conclusion before even being in place, if two ex-Royals who know Grifol well are going to step into the top spots, maybe that assumption is a reasonable one.
Grifol had plenty of good things to say about Getz on Wednesday, seemingly revealing that Getz is in charge of things like roster moves at the moment, during Reinsdorf’s search.
“I’ve known Chris for a while. He’s extremely articulate, he’s smart, he’s been around. He’s got experience. Player development really prepares people to do this type of stuff. He’s got experience in the clubhouse as a player and as an executive. He’s well-equipped to do what he’s being asked to do,” Grifol said.
“I was his hitting coach. Even as a player, you can tell he had characteristics of becoming an executive at some point, if he chose to go that route. … Then when he got into the front office, I know he was highly regarded as a young executive with potential to do this stuff.
“The things that are required as a farm director prepare you to do this kind of stuff. It’s a 24/7 job that things come your way that sometimes you sit back and reflect and you’re like, ‘I never thought this would happen.’ That job prepares you for a lot of things in the game, and he’s certainly equipped to do what he’s being asked to do by Jerry right now.”
Grifol refused to speak directly on Moore other than saying he was sure more than a hundred names would be brought up as possibilities to join the White Sox’ front office.
If Nightengale’s right, though, there might not be a need to bring up more than a couple.
Nightengale also stunned by reporting that La Russa is working with the White Sox as a consultant, though he’s not doing so in an official capacity. Grifol didn’t have anything to say about Nightengale reporting that he’s due for a Wednesday night meeting with Reinsdorf and La Russa to assess what’s gone wrong this season and how he plans to fix things moving forward.
Indeed, there’s a lot to fix. A team that was supposed to be contending for championships at this point in a years-long rebuilding project spearheaded by Hahn is 28 games below .500 and picking up the pieces of its two top decision-makers losing their jobs.
The next person in will have a lot to do if White Sox are going to compete in 2024, which Hahn deemed “viable” earlier this month, or compete in the years that follow.
Getz isn’t necessarily the “wrong man for the job,” and just because Williams and Hahn did things one way doesn’t mean Getz will follow the same playbook.
But after Hahn trumpeted the different perspectives of Grifol and a new-look coaching staff last offseason when the team found its third full-time manager in four years, Reinsdorf is reportedly focused on handing the reins to someone whose perspective has been present for the past seven years.
So what do we know about the White Sox’ next baseball boss?
Well, without Reinsdorf filling us in on any details of what he’s looking for, we can’t know anything for sure.
But somehow, simultaneously, it seems we could also know everything.