It might be another retread, but if the White Sox are insisting on going back to the managerial well then they can do a lot worse than Ozzie Guillen.
With one of the best rosters in MLB, at least on paper, the Chicago White Sox should still be playing this deep into October. Unfortunately, the decision to hire Tony La Russa backfired so aggressively that it might have closed the championship window so much as it ripped it out of the house.
There’s no kind way to put it, the La Russa Era Part Duex was nothing short of a catastrophic disaster. La Russa not only failed to win more postseason games than Rick Renteria had, but took a roster consisting of talented stars like Tim Anderson, Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, and Jose Abreu and produced the 8th-worst record in the American League. He took a first-place team and turned them into — when adjusting for AL Central inflation — a third or fourth-place team in most other divisions.
White Sox fans are rightfully wondering both what the hell as well as what happens next heading into the offseason.
It appears the answer is another South Side retread, albeit the one that should have happened in the first place. If Jerry Reinsdorf is really as hellbent as he seems to go back to the managerial well, he should have fished Ozzie Guillen out rather than La Russa.
Well, it seems he might be doing exactly that. According to NBC Chicago, the Sox are interviewing Guillen as they search for a new manager — which is fantastic.
White Sox hiring Ozzie Guillen…again…isn’t the worst idea in the world
Full disclosure: I’m a Twins fan which means there’s a certain amount of bias being carried into this conversation. But it honestly doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the world. The Twins-Sox rivalry was on another level when Guillen was in the mix and it was impossible to not have respect for Guillen and the Sox despite sitting on the other end of a bitter rivalry.
Obviously, there are other and possibly better managerial candidates the Sox should consider. Ron Washington, Joe Espada, and Pedro Grifo have all been linked to the White Sox, as has former Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon. Bruce Bochy, who managed the San Francisco Giants to three World Series titles, was linked to Chicago before accepting a job with the Texas Rangers.
All of those names are intriguing, but it’s also impossible to ignore the allure of Guillen returning and injecting his swagger into a young roster that could feed off it. Also, lowkey we need him managing in the Twitter era if for nothing other than the content.
“Let me be cocky,” Guillén said of a possible return to the Sox. “Nobody in baseball knows this ballclub better than Ozzie Guillén.”
As Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting, that’s the good stuff.
He’s been out of the game since 2012 when the Miami Marlins fired him following controversial remarks made about Fidel Castro. With how far the game has advanced in the last decade, hiring managers out of a different era and plopping them into the ultra-modern game today is a wild risk. But if there’s a guy to bet on bucking that trend, the best money might be on Ozzie.
Reinsdorf tried to run things back to the 80s with La Russa, but if he’s going to revisit the past he might as well get the manager who brought a World Series to the South Side. There was a certain aura and magic to the Ozzie teams, something different about them. With Paul Konerko, A. J. Pierzynski, Bobby Jenks, Joe Crede, Jon Garland, and Mark Buehrle — man, even this Twins fan can’t help but have fond memories. Now replace those names from that era with Anderson, Abreu, Robert, Dylan Cease, and Andrew Vaughn.
It might not work out, but it really doesn’t get much worse than what fans had to live through during the short-lived yet far-too-long Tony La Russa era.