Managerial candidates if La Russa doesn’t return to Sox

/ by Tim Stebbins
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

It remains unclear if White Sox manager Tony La Russa will be back in 2023 after missing the last month due to medical reasons.

The White Sox, who announced over the weekend La Russa won’t manage the rest of this season at the direction of his doctors, have not said anything regarding 2023, to this point. It’s a topic being discussed between social media and the local airwaves.

If La Russa does not return to the White Sox, who are some of the potential managerial candidates out there?

With managerial experience

Bruce Bochy

Bochy, 67, retired after the 2019 season but is managing France in the qualifying rounds of the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

If he's looking to get back in, he has the résumé to match any candidate.

Bochy has 25 seasons of managing experience between the Padres (1995-2006) and Giants (2007-19). He won the World Series three times with San Francisco (2010, 2012 and 2014) and lost in 1998 with the Padres.

Joe Girardi

Another accomplished veteran manager, Girardi — a Peoria native who attended Northwestern and spent seven of his 15 big-league seasons with the Cubs — has managed for 14 seasons.

He won NL Manager of the Year with the Marlins in 2006, spent 2008-17 with the Yankees, winning the 2009 World Series, and was at the helm with the Phillies the past three seasons. He was fired in June following a 22-29 start.

Girardi holds a career 1,120-935 record.


Joe Maddon

A familiar name to Chicagoans, Maddon led the Cubs to five straight winning seasons with four postseason berths from 2015-19. That includes three straight NLCS trips and the Cubs' first championship in 108 years.

Maddon managed the Angels the past three seasons before being fired in June. Along with two brief stints as Angels interim manager in the 1990s, he previously managed the Rays (2006-2014), winning the 2008 AL pennant.

Maddon has made clear since his firing he's in no rush to get back in the dugout, telling the Tampa Bay Times he would have to find an “absolutely correct” situation to do so.

Mike Shildt

Shildt spent 2003-21 with the Cardinals, starting out as a scout and holding a number of roles before getting his shot as interim manager in 2018. St. Louis removed the interim tag after that season, and he then led the Cardinals to three straight playoff berths.

Shildt, who went 252-199 in four seasons with St. Louis, led the Cardinals back to October last fall behind a franchise record 17-game winning streak.

The Cards fired him after the season due to what the team called “philosophical differences.”

Andy Green

Another familiar name in this town, Green has been the Cubs bench coach since 2020. He joined David Ross’ staff after four seasons managing the rebuilding Padres (2016-19).

Green, whom San Diego fired near the end of the 2019 season, previously spent 2011-15 coaching in the Diamondbacks organization. He was Arizona's third base coach in 2015.

Others notable names include Mike Scioscia, the former Angels manager and 2002 champ, and Ron Washington, the Braves third base coach who won back-to-back pennants managing the Rangers in 2010 and '11.

Without managerial experience

Miguel Cairo

A bit of a technicality here. Cairo, of course, has served as the White Sox acting manager during La Russa’s absence, but he has not been a full-time big-league manager yet.

Cairo took his first big-league coaching job when he joined La Russa’s staff as bench coach in 2020. The Sox are 0-7 since a 13-6 start under Cairo, a losing streak that may have nothing to do with him after a deflating loss to the Guardians last Tuesday.

Cairo, a utility man who played 17 big-league seasons, has seen the game from a few different angles since his career ended. Before joining the White Sox staff, he was a minor league infield coordinator with the Yankees and special assistant in the Reds front office. 

For what it’s worth, he has said enjoys managing.

“I love it. I love the adrenaline,” Cairo said earlier this month. “I love the intensity. I love the energy, the butterflies. I love that.”

Willie Harris

Harris, who came up with one of the biggest hits in White Sox history in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series, interviewed for the job that went to La Russa two years ago.

After a 12-season playing career, he started his coaching career in the Sox farm system in 2016. He then managed the Winston-Salem Dash in 2017 and the Giants' Double-A affiliate from 2018-19.


He spent 2020 coaching at the Reds alternate site during the canceled minor league season and has served as the Cubs’ third base coach the past two seasons.

Harris has said on several occasions he would like to manage one day and told NBC Sports Chicago's Gordon Wittenmyer Wednesday he's "ready" for that opportunity.

RELATED: Cubs 3B coach Willie Harris ‘ready’ to manage White Sox

“Hopefully, my name’s in their thoughts,” Harris said. “And we’ll see what happens from there.”

Joe Espada

A popular candidate for managerial openings in recent years, Espada has interviewed with the Cubs (before they hired Ross), Giants, A’s and Mets.

He has served as the Astros bench coach under A.J. Hinch and Dusty Baker since 2018 and previously was third base coach for the Marlins (2010-13) and Yankees (2015-17).

Matt Quatraro

Like Espada, Quatraro has been a popular managerial candidate in recent years. The Rays bench coach has interviewed with the Giants, Pirates, Tigers, Mets and A’s the past few offseasons.

The 48-year-old is in his ninth season as a big-league coach. He’s spent the past four seasons as Tampa Bay’s bench coach after a season as third base coach.

He was assistant hitting coach on Terry Francona’s staff with the Guardians from 2014-17.

Will Venable

Venable is wrapping up his second season as the Red Sox bench coach after four years in the Cubs organization. He was a front office special assistant in 2017, first base coach from 2018-19 and third base coach in 2020.

He's interviewed for manager jobs with the Giants and A's in recent years.

Venable, 39, is an Ivy League guy in an era where collaboration between the manager and front office has never been more part of the job. He played baseball and basketball at Princeton before his nine-season big-league career.

Among other names with no managing experience, former White Sox catcher and FOX Sports analyst AJ Pierzynski has expressed interest in managing.

Guardians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. has interviewed for multiple jobs in recent years. He's in his 13th season on Cleveland's coaching staff and went 27-19 as acting manager in 2020.

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