CHICAGO (670 The Score) – With Tony La Russa announcing Monday afternoon that he won't return as the White Sox's manager in 2023 due to health issues, the organization's focus now turns to who will replace him.
The new leader will be tasked with bringing together a talented group that greatly underachieved while missing the playoffs in 2022, a season that began with championship hopes. In no particular order, here’s a look at a series of candidates who could be in the mix to replace La Russa.
Willie Harris, Cubs third-base coach
Harris, 44, was a member of the White Sox’s championship team in 2005 and had a 12-year MLB playing career. He has been the Cubs’ third-base coach since the 2021 season.
Harris has strong communication skills and a sense of humor that’s made him popular on the North Side. He has a penchant for detail as well. Harris has managerial experience at the minor league level.
Harris interviewed for the White Sox’s managerial job before La Russa was hired in October 2020.
Bruce Bochy, former Giants/Padres manager
Bochy, 67, is a three-time World Series-winning manager, leading the Giants to championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He still has the desire to manage again after being pushed out ever so gently by the Giants’ front office after the 2019 season.
Bochy has strong leadership skills and is adept at handling his pitching staff and in his bullpen usage. He has the best resume of any manager who will be in the mix for the White Sox. Bochy managed the Padres from 1995 to 2006 and then the Giants from 2007 to 2019.
Miguel Cairo, White Sox’s bench coach/acting manager
Cairo, 48, has been the White Sox’s acting manager since La Russa went on his medical leave of absence on Aug. 30. Entering play Monday, the White Sox were 16-15 under his direction.
Cairo hasn’t been afraid to air out his team for its poor play and lack of energy. Prior to joining the White Sox as their bench coach ahead of the 2021 season, Cairo worked in the Yankees’ organization in the player development department and as a special assistant in the Reds’ front office.
Chris Getz, White Sox assistant general manager
Getz, 39, has worked in the White Sox’s player development department since 2017 and was in the Royals’ front office prior to that. He has strong communication skills, is a trusted voice in the White Sox’s front office and is lauded for his intelligence.
Because he doesn’t have managing or coaching experience, Getz is considered more of a longshot, but more individuals have landed managerial jobs in the past decade without a background in that area. The Yankees’ Aaron Boone and the Brewers’ Craig Counsell are two examples of managers who have led their teams to plenty of success without having previous experience in the dugout.
It’s worth remembering that the White Sox have an affinity for hiring managers whom they’re already familiar with. The last time they hired a manager from outside the White Sox family was Jerry Manual in late 1997.
Getz has previously indicated that managing is something he’d be interested in.
“I like to lead, whether it’s organizationally or in the dugout,” Getz said on Inside the Clubhouse. “Communication skills are the recipe for success in all walks of life. I am still getting started in my non-playing career. I have been fortunate to have been a part of two great organizations. We have accomplished a lot in both places. I don't know what the future holds, but if an opportunity arose for myself and my family, I love to have success with others. It’s very rewarding to win with a group.”
A.J. Pierzynski, former White Sox catcher
Pierzynski, 45, had a 19-year MLB career that included playing for the White Sox from 2005-’12. He was the starting catcher when the White Sox won the World Series in 2005.
Pierzynski has long been praised for his baseball acumen, and he has been open in saying he’d be interested in the White Sox’s managerial job. He’s a no-nonsense man who’s a stickler for defense and baserunning, two areas the White Sox were weak in this season. Pierzynski knows the game and pitching well.
Pierzynski also isn’t the type to put up with a lack of hustle or half-hearted effort. He’s currently a baseball analyst for Fox Sports.
Ozzie Guillen, former White Sox manager
Guillen, 58, was the White Sox’s manager from 2004-’11 and led them to a World Series title in 2005. He has been blackballed from the dugout since leaving the Marlins after the 2012 season. He’s currently the lead analyst on White Sox pregame and postgame shows on NBC Sports Chicago.
Guillen is a smart man with a direct style of leadership. He wouldn’t put up with a lack of hustle or let minor injuries become excuses for poor play. Guillen is popular with fans and the media, but whether his approach would work as well with today’s players is a question that must be considered.
Guillen’s trust with the White Sox’s front office took a hit when he left the organization after the 2011 season.
Joe Girardi, former Phillies/Yankees/Marlins manager
Girardi, 57, was fired as Phillies manager in early June. He’s a Peoria native and Northwestern graduate who has recently been doing work on Cubs telecasts on the Marquee Sports Network. He’d certainly listen if the White Sox came calling.
Girardi led the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009. Girardi has an old-school mentality and is a stickler for rules, professionalism and playing the game the right way. By the end of his tenure in New York, where he managed from 2008-’17, he was told he was too hard on a few younger players.
He has a .545 winning percentage in 14 seasons as an MLB manager.
Joe Maddon, former Angels/Cubs/Rays manager
Maddon, 68, was fired as Angels manager in June. He’d love one more shot at managing, but his recent crusade against what he views as front office overreach won’t ingratiate him with some management regimes across MLB.
Maddon led the Cubs to a World Series championship in 2016 and is well-respected by the White Sox’s front office. He has a long history of success, compiling a .532 winning percentage in 19 seasons as an MLB manager.
Sando Alomar Jr., Guardians first-base coach
Alomar, 56, has been a candidate for numerous managerial jobs in the past.
In 2020, he served as the Guardians’ acting manger for most of the pandemic-shortened season as Terry Francona dealt with health issues, and Alomar led Cleveland to the playoffs.
Alomar is a great communicator and well-respected throughout MLB. He had three separate stints with the White Sox during his 20-year playing career, in which he was a six-time All-Star.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.