When the White Sox made the decision to move on from Rick Renteria, no one saw this coming.
Tony La Russa is the heavy favorite to replace Renteria, per one national writer, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who made first mention of La Russa’s candidacy earlier this week. Reports followed Wednesday that the Los Angeles Angels, who currently employ La Russa as a special advisor, granted the White Sox permission to interview the Hall of Famer for their managerial opening.
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Speaking with Our Chuck Garfien on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Nightengale described La Russa as the most likely person to land the gig.
“If I had to give odds, I’d say 75 percent Tony La Russa, 25 percent A.J. Hinch. I think it’s La Russa’s job to lose,” Nightengale said. “I think he’s very, very intrigued by this. If he wasn’t intrigued, he would’ve told the White Sox, ‘Thank you, I’ve turned down jobs in the past.’ This is the only job he’d leave for. He loves the White Sox, loves Jerry Reinsdorf. … This is a history thing, and, I think, an unbelievable story.
“If he leads these White Sox to their World Series, people are going to make a movie out of it.”
It’s a wild turn of events, as general manager Rick Hahn seemed to be describing managerial free agents like A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora when he said the team preferred someone with recent experience managing in the postseason for a “championship organization.” Hahn also said the team would likely make its hire from outside the organization, specifically eliminating a former South Side skipper in Ozzie Guillen.
La Russa has plenty of rings on his fingers — three of them, to be precise — though he wrapped his Hall of Fame managerial career after winning his third championship in 2011, which pushes the boundaries of “recent.” He’s also a former White Sox manager, having helmed the team from 1979 to 1986.
But as Nightengale mentioned, La Russa and Reinsdorf have a strong personal relationship, and this is still Reinsdorf’s team. La Russa might not fit neatly into the type of manager Hahn described Monday, but he’s done the one thing the White Sox care about more than anything else right now: He’s won.
Listen to Garfien's entire conversation with Nightengale on the latest episode of the White Sox Talk Podcast.