The Chicago White Sox had a very good season. Some people will remember nothing but them losing in the ALDS to the Houston Astros but they were outmatched by a more experienced team. In hindsight, it was a very well-played and important season for them. There was a lot of development for a team that went in with mixed expectations.
Tony La Russa had his ups and downs since being hired as the team’s new manager replacing Rick Renteria. There were some bumps along the way that had their criticisms but he did a good job overall. With all of the injuries that the team dealt with this year, it is amazing that they went 93-69 en route to an AL Central title.
La Russa had a lot to do with that. With true rookies like Gavin Sheets, Andrew Vaughn, Jake Burger, Garrett Crochet, and Yermin Mercedes amongst others, there was a lot of youth. Even depth veterans like Billy Hamilton, Brian Goodwin, and Jake Lamb had to take plenty of at-bats this season. Tony La Russa had a hand in getting the most out of all these guys.
Now, we are sure that Tony La Russa is going to be back for 2022. That may come as a surprise to some people but it shouldn’t. He was good enough in 2021 with some tough roster luck to warrant coming back for another go in 2022.
The Chicago White Sox had mixed results at times with Tony La Russa in 2021.
If we are being honest with ourselves, La Russa wasn’t very good against the Astros in this ALDS. Next year, he needs to be better with his decision-making in the playoffs if they make it. He is known for his outstanding bullpen management and it didn’t show well in this series. It certainly wasn’t all his fault that they lost but he deserves some blame.
It is fair to say when La Russa does good and it is fair to say when he does bad. Too many people stick to only defending him or only ripping on him. There was a mix of both this year but at 93-69, it is hard to argue that it wasn’t mostly good. It also sounds like the players want him back which is a really good sign. If the players want to play for their manager, there is a better chance they will perform well.
With a little more luck next season, the White Sox shouldn’t be missing key players for months at a time. That should allow La Russa to do things better if he has his full complement of players all year long. 2022 is going to be a big year for him as a manager and for the organization as a whole as they look to take a big step together.