The White Sox have accomplished something rare in Chicago: they’re more embarrassing than the Cubs.
Sure, the White Sox have a better record than the Cubs, but they have a lot more talent; no one reasonable was expecting anything more than mediocrity from the Cubs this year and they’ve been terrible; but the White Sox are a train wreck and GM Kenny Williams is going to do something drastic.
The time has passed for him to trade half his roster and he was right to hold his fire at the deadline. They were only 3 games out of first place and had played better to reach .500. Since then, they look like they’ve started their off-season early.
Ozzie Guillen has been rumored to be on the hotseat so many other times and was never fired; he has a contract for next year so there is reason to believe he’ll be back.
But there’s also reason to believe he won’t.
The Marlins wanted Guillen this past winter and the White Sox players don’t seem to be responding to him anymore. The easiest thing to do is to bring in a new manager rather than a boatload of new players especially with the immovable contracts the White Sox have.
The obvious choice in a chain-of-command style scenario would be Joey Cora, but Williams thinks outside the box and does what he wants. Another name I’d expect to be floated is the man who came in second to Guillen when Guillen was hired: Cito Gaston. Gaston didn’t look like he wanted to retire from the Blue Jays after last year and with Jack McKeon and Davey Johnson back in the dugout, it’s not as much of an anomaly to have a much older manager. Gaston will be 68 starting next season.
But how about Tony LaRussa returning to finish his managerial career where he started it?
Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is still close with LaRussa and the Cardinals are in flux despite their flurry of moves to placate the manager and win now.
In fact, the series of trades—that could be referred to as desperate—could be framed as having been made to win immediately in a last ditch effort to close out the LaRussa-era as a winner.
Could the Cardinals be preparing for a future without Albert Pujols just in case he does leave after the season? And would LaRussa have any interest in managing the Cardinals without Pujols?
He’s going year-to-year with his Cardinals contracts and with the rampant dysfunction that’s coming to light with the fight between Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird and the multitude of issues between LaRussa and Tony Rasmus that expedited Colby Rasmus being traded, maybe he and the Cardinals would like to go their separate ways.
If Pujols leaves, the Cardinals are going to be severely compromised in 2012 and at his age (LaRussa will be 67), does he need the aggravation of a Cardinals clubhouse sans Pujols and little chance to win?
The White Sox will have a lot of talent on the roster in 2012 and are ready-made to contend—a perfect spot for LaRussa in both practice and aesthetics.
It’d take a lot for it to happen, but it’s a viable landing spot for a 2-3 year window to try and win another championship and go out in the venue where he came in.