Sox Insider

Sox set 2021 expectations: 'It is World Series or bust'

Sox Insider

The White Sox made it pretty clear when they swapped Rick Renteria for Tony La Russa in the manager's chair.

But leave it to hitting coach Frank Menechino to slap a slogan on the team's 2021 season.

"There is no going back," he said Wednesday. "It is World Series or bust, you know?"

RELATED: Giolito 'big fan' of Tony La Russa's coaching philosophy

Indeed, the White Sox are moving forward, leaving rebuilding mode behind with an ascendant 2020 campaign that saw them leap into contention mode. They boast one of the most potent lineups in the game. Their team leader is the American League MVP. The ace of their pitching staff threw a no-hitter.

There truly is no going back to the days of 100-loss seasons and prioritizing the future over the present. The White Sox are in win-now mode.

Renteria did what was asked of him, getting the White Sox to the postseason for the first time in a dozen years. But the White Sox are looking for more dependability. They wanted someone who knows what it takes to lead a team to a championship, and boy, did they find someone who fits that bill in La Russa, the Hall-of-Famer with three World Series rings on his fingers.

To paraphrase José Abreu after he won the MVP, the playoffs were nice, but the White Sox aren't going to be satisfied with just reaching October anymore. Every player you talk to makes it obvious what their top priority is: winning the whole thing.

 

"And that's the right attitude to have, you know?" Menechino said. "We have to go there (to the World Series). We have to make it. Our goal is to win it. And that's it.

"Pressure, no pressure, whatever it is, that's the goal. ... The bottom line is, that's why you put the uniform on, is to win a championship."

Menechino is one of several coaches from Renteria's staff who is staying on as a part of La Russa's group of assistant coaches. But even the newcomers share in the same excitement over championship expectations.

Miguel Cairo is a permanent part of a major league staff for the first time, joining his former manager La Russa as the White Sox new bench coach. Cairo, like the rest of the baseball world, has seen what the White Sox have built and is ready to be a part of something special on the South Side.

"Oh my gosh, the talent that they have," he said Wednesday. "It’s amazing the kind of players that they have. They already have a taste of going to the playoffs. Now it’s get a taste of going to the promised land. ... The promised land is the World Series, that beautiful ring and the parade in Chicago after the season.

"Chicago, it’s one of the cities (where) they know how to celebrate a championship. It would be awesome to get that ring."

La Russa's staff will obviously have a big part to play in getting the White Sox to that promised land. Whether it's new pitching coach Ethan Katz prepping young pitchers for a World Series run, Menechino continuing to get Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal accustomed to the majors, Cairo helping the White Sox better their base running or third-base coach Joe McEwing improving the team's infield defense, all these guys will have an impact if the season ends with that parade.

And that's now the expectation, too, that they will do what is necessary to make the White Sox champions.

"I think that we’re in a very, very good position to win," Lucas Giolito said Tuesday. "At the end of the day, winning games is all that matters. And I think that with our coaching staff, with the players we have, how far we’ve come, kind of putting that all together, it puts us in a really, really good spot.

"Being in a good spot to kind of start having success makes me feel good."

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