"Having Tony La Russa as our manager, one of the most decorated managers in the history of baseball, there's not much to complain about there."
White Sox fans have found a way to do what Lucas Giolito apparently cannot: complain about the team's hiring of La Russa.
But the ace of the South Side pitching staff certainly has a point when it comes to La Russa's resume. It's practically unmatched. Not just compared to the other people who could have replaced Rick Renteria, but in the history of the game.
La Russa has won three World Series championships as a manager. He's third on the game's all-time managerial wins list; 36 more and he'll be second.
White Sox fans might have had someone else in mind. Heck, even general manager Rick Hahn admitted the hiring process didn't go the way he anticipated it would. But La Russa has brought the White Sox what they were looking for: someone who has been there and done that when it comes to leading teams to titles.
And that history seems to be carrying some weight with his new players, even as folks spend time wondering how the guy who hasn't managed in a decade will relate to today's players. Tim Anderson said last month: "He's in the Hall of Fame for a reason." Giolito echoed his shortstop Tuesday, as part of a positive review.
"I've had a couple conversations with him on the phone, and we didn't get into too many specifics, but I am a big fan of his coaching philosophy, I guess you could say," Giolito said. "What he was talking about, what he wants to bring to the team starting Day 1 of spring training, I'm just excited to get to work with Tony and (new pitching coach Ethan Katz) and the rest of the coaching staff that was announced today."
Giolito's talked with La Russa, but apparently he hasn't talked much about La Russa with his teammates. It's been a wonder what kind of fit La Russa will be in a clubhouse that established a strong culture under Renteria. Giolito admitted he can't predict what a La Russa-led group will look like until he experiences it, at the same time offering a peek into the kind of excitement these White Sox have heading into a 2021 season with championship expectations.
"It’s going to take us all being in the same room meeting every morning in spring training, putting the work in for us to really let it sink all in and start getting it going," Giolito said. "I don’t think there is too much to discuss other than I’m excited, we have some new faces, some old faces, and let’s just get it going."