What started off as a promising run as manager of the Chicago White Sox soon turned sour for Miguel Cairo when the team got swept by the Cleveland Guardians, then the Detroit Tigers, followed by dropping the first two games of their series with the Minnesota Twins which eliminated them from playoff contention.
The White Sox looked like a team who quit on the season after the Guardians series and unfortunately, that speaks to not just the players but also the coaches as well.
Cairo couldn’t get the team to get out of the funk they were in until they snapped their season-high eight-game losing streak Thursday when they topped the Twins 4-3.
Following their sweep at the hands of the Tigers, Cairo called the team’s play “unacceptable” and didn’t rule out a lack of effort as a contributing factor to the team’s poor performance.
"“You can put it either way. Execution. Effort. Everything,” Cairo said."
Sadly, a team’s lack of effort can be laid at the feet of the manager and while the club underperformed with Tony La Russa at the helm, the team also sputtered when it needed to be at its best under Cairo. Managers generally lose their jobs when teams throw in the towel.
A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the White Sox as to what to do about their managerial situation for next season. Reports have La Russa not being back on the bench due to his health concerns and that opens the door for, possibly a number of different candidates.
The Chicago White Sox needs something big from their manager in 2023.
What might be the best option for the White Sox is to look outside the organization for a new manager. Ties to the club seem to be the Jerry Reinsdorf way of doing business and that has just not paid off the way fans hoped.
Team president Kenny Williams has been in the front office for over 20 years while general manager Rick Hahn came over in 2002.
During this era, the team has produced just one title and gone through six managers (Don Cooper managed two games), with Jerry Manuel being the only one who didn’t have any connection to the club when he took over.
Under the Reinsdorf/Williams/Hahn regime, the “White Sox Way” hasn’t been a winning model of consistency, nor has it been one that other organizations would want to emulate.
The White Sox have hovered around the .500 mark during the last 20 years serving as an example of mediocrity rather than superiority.
It is time for Williams and Hahn to think outside the box for the next manager. A new voice might be the type of thing the team needs to get the most out of the roster.
While some fans have tossed out the names of AJ Pierzynski and Ozzie Guillen, steering clear of the past might be what helps the team progress into the future. Pierzynski has no prior managerial experience and Guillen returning might be more of a distraction than an asset.
Reinsdorf’s penchant for taking care of those who have been loyal to him has been a hindrance more than a help to the White Sox.
The La Russa hire (which had Reinsdorf’s fingerprints all over it) has proven to be a failure and finding another from the organizational tree might not instill confidence in a fan base that has been more than disappointed in the team this season.
The window of opportunity for the White Sox could be closing in a far quicker fashion than many had thought. Management needs to find someone with fresh ideas and a track record of success that can take this team to a championship.
Bruce Botchy’s name has been floated out there but there are others like Mike Schildt and Don Mattingly who have had success running ballclubs or Sandy Alomar Jr. who has been an understudy to the very successful Terry Francona in Cleveland.
Alomar did spend some time playing for the White Sox but his time with Francona could prove to be beyond valuable to the ballclub.
The White Sox are in a tough spot with many questions needing to be answered before the start of next season. Getting the manager right ranks at the top of the priority list if the team is serious about winning a title.