White Sox managerial candidates as Tony La Russa steps down

/ by Tim Stebbins
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The White Sox will have a new manager next season.

Manager Tony La Russa announced Monday he will not return in 2023 due to medical reasons, after missing the last month of the 2022 season.

General manager Rick Hahn met the media Monday to discuss the coming offseason for the White Sox, including some of the attributes the team is looking for as it conducts a second manager search in three years.

"I think, ideally, in the end, the right candidate is someone who has recent experience in the dugout with an organization that has contended for championships," Hahn said. "Ideally, it's someone who is an excellent communicator; is someone who understands the way the game has grown and evolved in the last decade or so.

"But at the same time, obviously, respect for old school sensibilities is going to be important as well. One thing that perhaps breaks from the mold of at least the last few hires: Having a history with the White Sox, having some sort of connection to White Sox DNA is by no means a requirement."

Hahn noted Miguel Cairo will get an interview after the work he did as acting manager during La Russa's absence. Having managerial experience is "a positive," Hahn said, also noting the attributes the Sox seek can be gained in other ways, including as a bench coach

Here are some of the potential managerial candidates out there:


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, including the championship experience Hahn mentioned.

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.

Don Mattingly

Mattingly, the Marlins all-time leader in managerial wins, recently announced he won't return in 2023 but made clear he's not retiring.

The 61-year-old has 12 seasons of managing under his belt, including five with the Dodgers (2011-15) in which he won three straight NL West titles.

He led the Marlins to their first postseason berth in 17 years during the 60-game 2020 season, winning NL Manager of the Year.

Mike Shildt

Shildt has recent managerial experience with an organization that annually strives to compete for championships. He 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.”

Without managerial experience

Miguel Cairo

Cairo, of course, served as the 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 16-15 under Cairo, including an eight-game losing streak that may have nothing to do with him after a deflating sweep to the Guardians.


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 last month. “I love the intensity. I love the energy, the butterflies. I love that.”

Joe Espada

Espada may not have any experience managing, but he's been Astros bench coach during their run of dominance. He's held the role under A.J. Hinch and Dusty Baker since 2018 and previously was third base coach for the Marlins (2010-13) and Yankees (2015-17).

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

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.

One thing both clubs have in common? They've consistent made the postseason during Quatraro's coaching career.

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.


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

Former White Sox catcher and FOX Sports analyst AJ Pierzynski has expressed interest in managing but has not held a big-league coaching job, making him an unlikely fit.

On the other hand, what about 2005 Sox teammate Willie Harris, who 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.


MORE: 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.”

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