The White Sox have reportedly already conducted multiple interviews as they search for their next manager, including one with Hall of Fame skipper Tony La Russa.
The Score's Bruce Levine reported Wednesday that the South Side brain trust has sat down with La Russa, who's been reported for more than a week now to be in the mix to replace Rick Renteria, as well as other unnamed candidates. Levine described La Russa as "a top candidate" in the White Sox ongoing hunt for a new field leader.
The meeting with La Russa expectedly included conversations with team vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn, who reportedly asked the 76-year-old La Russa how he would handle managing young players. The White Sox roster is loaded with uber-talented youngsters, part of the reason the team is so bullish on the present and long-term future, which with the right manager could feature an awful lot of winning.
La Russa's age is certainly not an indication of his managing ability, but it could influence his approach to running a clubhouse, something important in a game that is becoming increasingly "new school." La Russa hasn't managed in the major leagues since he retired following the 2011 season.
While bat flips and home-run selfies don't take much getting used to, Renteria won ample praise for his approach with his players, allowing them to be themselves both on and off the field, whether that meant showing their fun-loving personalities with home-run celebrations or using their platforms to protest racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans in the United States. La Russa has voiced his strong opposition to athletes protesting during the national anthem.
La Russa's name has been prominently featured since the White Sox announced they parted ways with Renteria early last week. USA Today's Bob Nightengale first discussed the possibility of La Russa returning to the South Side, where he managed from 1979 to 1986, and by week's end told Our Chuck Garfien that it was "La Russa's job to lose."
La Russa's strong personal relationship with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has been a recurring talking point.
Certainly La Russa has what the White Sox are looking for when it comes to winning experience, with three World Series wins as a manager, first in 1989 with the Oakland Athletics, then in 2006 and 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals. But he's been retired from managing for nearly a decade, stretching the definition of the "recent" postseason managing experience Hahn said would apply to the team's ideal candidate.
When Hahn made those comments, it sounded like he was describing free-agent managers A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, both currently serving one-year suspensions for their ties to the Houston Astros' cheating scandal. Those suspensions end at the conclusion of the World Series.
Hahn said the team's search would potentially stretch past the end of the postseason, allowing it to interview any potential candidates who are still working in the World Series. Levine reported the White Sox are looking to name their manager within the next 10 days to two weeks, allowing the next skipper to have input on the team's offseason activity.