Who should manage White Sox in 2023 if La Russa doesn't return?

Who should manage White Sox if TLR doesn't return? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

If Tony La Russa does not return next season, who should be the next manager for the White Sox in 2023?

*points finger at Ozzie Guillen*

That's the initial reaction Chuck Garfien and Scott Podsednik had when asked the same question by a fan during an Ask Us Anything segment for White Sox Postgame Live. Subsequently, Guillen and the crew came up with some names in light of the joke.

The White Sox will almost certainly miss the playoffs this season (<0.01% chance, per ESPN) and Tony La Russa's health is in question (will miss the rest of the season), who could step in as the club's manager next season?

Here are a few names the crew rattled off as potential candidates for the White Sox manager spot if Tony La Russa does not return to the team next season.

Bruce Bochy

Bochy technically retired from the game in 2019, after winning his 1000th game with the San Francisco Giants and 2,000th in his career. But, anything's possible. The White Sox' last manager (La Russa) came out of retirement to manage this year's team.

Bochy was a successful manager in his time with the Giants and San Diego Padres before that. He won three World Series out of four appearances in his time and finished just under .500 for his all-time managerial record -- coaching over 4,000 games.

But, according to Guillen, Bochy wants to coach a French team (Bochy is native to France) and even asked Guillen to come on his staff.

"I talked to him [Bochy]," Guillen said on NBC Sports Chicago. "He wants me to be a third base coach for a French team. They're playing in Germany right now."

Joe Girardi

After a 22-29 start with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team decided to fire Girardi from his post.

Girardi went 132-141 in two-plus seasons with Philadelphia. He previously managed the Yankees to a 910-710 record in 10 seasons and the Florida Marlins before that. Girardi managed the Yankees' 2009 World Series team.

The longtime manager has over 1,000 wins as a manager and a winning record in the postseason.

Could he be a fit? Girardi is an Illinois native (from Peoria), attended Northwestern University as a student-athlete, and briefly played for the Cubs.

Sandy Alomar Jr.

If you can’t beat them, join them.

Or, hire part of their coaching staff.

Alomar Jr. serves as the first base coach for the Cleveland Guardians, who clinched the AL Central division title over the White Sox on Sunday.

The most impressive feat from his resume was serving as Terry Francona’s temporary replacement in 2020 for a surgery Francona required, which left him out of the dugout for 47 games. During that span, Alomar led the Guardians (then Indians) to a 28-19 record.

Willie Harris

How about the game-winning run from Game 4 of the Sox’ 2005 World Series?

Harris is new to the coaching game, having coached in the minors and recently as the third base coach on David Ross’ staff for the Chicago Cubs.

He played 12 seasons in the major leagues – three with the White Sox (2002-05) –  and used his speed and versatility in the field as trademarks of his game.

Other former White Sox?

“You think Paul Konerko is going to come in and manage?” Garfien asked.

“Why not?” Guillen responded.

Konerko played for the White Sox from 1999-2014, helping the White Sox win the World Series in 2005 and taking the role of the team’s mainstay clean-up hitter.

This Wednesday marks the eighth anniversary of Konerko’s retirement from baseball in 2014. “Paulie” hasn’t been active in baseball since his retirement, but the manager of the White Sox could be a fun return to the game for the Southside legend.

Another White Sox alum/potential managerial candidate is A.J. Pierzynski. The former catcher played eight seasons with the Sox (2005-12) and was a memorable icon in the clubhouse.

Unlike Konerko, Pierzynski has been active in the baseball scene serving as an MLB broadcast analyst with FOX sports since 2017.

For now, the main question stands as to when will the White Sox hire their next manager. La Russa's status for next season is still up in the air.

As it stands now, La Russa is still the manager of the team and has another year on his deal. And Miguel Cairo will finish out the season as the team’s acting manager.

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