“The White Sox did us a huge favor.”
That’s the quote from one Detroit Tigers’ official according to Cody Stavenhagen, the Tigers beat writer for The Athletic.
That unnamed Tigers executive jumped at the chance to twist the knife even deeper than it was on Thursday afternoon, when the La Russa hiring was formally announced. Sadly, the executive is absolutely correct in his sentiment.
The White Sox declined to interview the slam-dunk, best candidate available for their next manager, and now he’ll go to one of their division rivals.
Hinch — who no doubt won’t forget that the White Sox didn’t even feel inclined to interview him — will have the chance to drive that knife a little deeper 19 times a year, for many years to come, when he shakes hands with La Russa at home plate before each and every White Sox-Tigers game.
The White Sox had a chance to land the services of Hinch. They punted on it, opting instead to stake their entire rebuild on the hopes that Tony La Russa can squeeze out one more ring for he and his pal Jerry Reinsdorf before he inevitably retires once again in a few years.
Even if he does, this team was designed to compete for more than a few years, and hiring La Russa means he — pushing 80-years-old — won’t see all of those years through. The White Sox will have to change managers in the middle of their designed contention window, right about the time that Hinch and the rebuilding Tigers are breathing down their necks in the American League Central.
With the current core — save for Lucas Giolito — locked up long term, the Sox have a window that doesn’t align with what La Russa probably has left in the tank.
• 3B Yoán Moncada: signed through 2024, club option for 2025
• LF Eloy Jiménez: signed through 2024, club options for ’25-26
• CF Luis Robert: signed through 2025, club options for ’26-27
• SS Tim Anderson: signed through 2022, club options for ’23-24
• LHP Aaron Bummer: signed through 2024, club options for ’25-26
• LHP Dallas Keuchel: signed through 2022, club option for ‘23
• C Yasmani Grandal: signed through 2023
• 1B José Abreu: signed through 2022
• RHP Lucas Giolito: arbitration eligible in 2021, team controlled through ‘23
• RHP Reynaldo López: arbitration eligible in 2021, team controlled through ‘23
• RHP Michael Kopech: arbitration eligible in 2022, team controlled through ‘24
Hinch is just 46. He could have been the long term solution to match this core.
But alas, here we are. Hinch is going to Detroit, and the White Sox have La Russa. It’s Jerry’s world; Sox fans are just living in it.
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