3 ways Pedro Grifol is already better than Tony La Russa
The Chicago White Sox made a bold managerial hire over the last few weeks. There were plenty of rumors out there on who they were going to hire but they ended up going with Kansas City Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol.
Grifol is someone that has seen success as his early years with the Royals went very well. That includes two trips to the World Series while winning one of them.
Now, Grifol has something to prove with this team that went 81-81 in 2022. They were the most disappointing team in the entire league.
He is going to come in and try to do better than Tony La Russa but that shouldn't be too hard. La Russa just didn't live up to the resume that he brought in when he was hired.
The Chicago White Sox might finally have a good manager in Pedro Grifol.
To be honest, he has already made a better impression than La Russa did within his first few days as the manager. These are the three ways that he is already better:
1. He was in a dugout the year prior
Tony La Russa came back from being retired for about 10 years. He was involved in the game still but he wasn't a manager or a coach for a long time. He clearly wasn't as sharp with the game as he was when he last managed. That showed during his White Sox tenure.
Pedro Grifol will be coming off a stint as the bench coach for the Royals a year prior. He was in the division so he knows the White Sox well and the teams that they will mostly be playing. It is a much better fit from that point of view.
2. The front office clearly likes him
This isn't to say that the Chicago White Sox brass (besides Jerry Reinsdorf) didn't like Tony La Russa. Nothing was personal when it was obvious that he wasn't their guy. Reinsdorf pushed him on everyone and it felt forced.
With Grifol, everyone went through an extensive process to make the hire and it is clear that he was the consensus decision. Rick Hahn's comments during the introductory presser made it clear that he is all in on this hire. That is a significantly different tone from the La Russa presser to introduce him.
3. He is already embracing the fans and team
From taking pictures on the field, going to a Chicago Blackhawks game at the United Center, talking highly about Jose Abreu, and buying random fan's lunch at a local restaurant, he is clearly embracing the fans and what it means to be with the White Sox.
The White Sox also shared a video on Twitter of him calling Eloy Jimenez via FaceTime and they seemed to hit it off. He showed just a little bit of personality there and that is going to go a long way with some of these fun-loving players like Jimenez.
Of course, the good graces (on all of these points) will go away if the team doesn't succeed. There is a long way to go but he is already off on a good foot. At the very least, he is an upgrade over La Russa and everyone that came before him besides Ozzie Guillen.