From the moment he was hired, both the national and local media have been very critical of Tony La Russa. Everyone claims that the old manager wouldn’t be able to work with all the young talent that the Chicago White Sox have. This is both stupid and not helpful given that he deserved to at least get a chance. There were reports by national writer Jeff Passan that La Russa had “lost the clubhouse”, even though White Sox players themselves said that wasn’t true.
The Chicago White Sox have had some interesting games that get Tony La Russa in trouble.
A lot of people were calling for Tony La Russa’s firing after blaming him for Tuesday’s loss to the Reds and the team’s 16-13 start. It is strange because I don’t remember all of those people wanting to fire Ricky Renteria after he lost 95 and 100 games for the Southsiders. Those teams were also lacking in Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez.
The reality is Tony La Russa can’t bat for the White Sox players. It’s not really his fault that Billy Hamilton and Leury Garcia are in the starting lineup when there isn’t anyone else better to play. “He should have pinch-hit for Hamilton!” the detractors will say. Okay, then who do you put in center field to play the bottom of the 10th? Danny Mendick?
If the White Sox had Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez healthy (basically the team’s two best players), I guarantee they would not have been shut out against the Reds and would have won the game easily. Unfortunately, the White Sox have lost the ability to hit home runs due to their injuries as well as a lack of signing sluggers in free agency.
If there is a reason to be mad at Jerry Reinsdorf, it should be for his cheapness in not signing superstar Bryce Harper who has been an absolute stud for the first-place Philadelphia Phillies, more than worth every penny. Being cheap certainly did not pay out on that front.
The manager doesn’t have that much impact on the team’s win total, regardless of what people may think. Yes, it was foolish to send Leury Garcia to steal with Billy Hamilton up. It was foolish to pinch-hit for Andrew Vaughn just because he was 0-3 on the day (hasn’t La Russa ever heard of a hitter being due?) but I don’t think the Sox would have won either of those games anyways.
The Sox aren’t leading the AL now due to season-long injuries to two of their best position players and an otherwise lack of outfield depth. They have pitched extremely well thus far. Having AJ Hinch as manager (or whoever you wanted) probably wouldn’t change the Sox win total this year. Better bats in the lineup would. Maybe they can finally do the right thing and sign slugging outfielder Kris Bryant this offseason but they probably won’t.