MLB rumors: Bruce Bochy was White Sox's No. 2 pick if Tony La Russa declined

Josh Schrock
·3 min read

Report; Bochy was White Sox's No. 2 choice if La Russa said no originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Chicago White Sox stunned a lot of people Thursday when they hired 76-year-old Tony La Russa to be their next manager.

But had La Russa turned down the offer from White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, what would the South Siders have done? According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the White Sox had their eyes on another championship manager, but one who only has been out of baseball for one season: Bruce Bochy.

Bochy retired as Giants manager following the 2019 season. His Hall of Fame credentials have been well-documented and he left San Francisco as one of the most beloved sports figures in recent memory.

The White Sox reportedly didn't interview any other candidates beside La Russa, who Chicago had targeted since they fired Rick Renteria following the Sox's AL Wild Card Series loss to the A's.

Would Bochy have made the move to the South Side? The Giants legend admitted he was missing the game since hanging up his spikes.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it, especially watching the postseason," Bochy told KNBR. "It's exciting times. I could see it happening to be honest, but it's not something right now that I'm pushing. When you've been in the game as long as I have, and you've managed as long as I did, you're gonna miss it. Now especially with watching these postseason games.

"We'll see what happens."

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Bringing in La Russa was a shocking move by the White Sox for a number of reasons.

First of all, La Russa hasn't managed in nearly a decade. Secondly, he's been open about his anti-analytics beliefs, which don't fit with the current direction the game is heading. Most important of all is the expected clash of personalities between an old-school manager who would prefer players to put their head down and run to first base and a young White Sox team known for its personalities and bat flips.

Would Bochy have been a better option? He's only a year removed from the game and is more of a player's manager than La Russa. What about A.J. Hinch or Alex Cora? Any potential PR blowback might have been easier to stomach than a potential clubhouse clash between young stars and an old-school manager.

There's no telling if Bochy would have accepted the job, but it would have been worth the White Sox's time to interview more candidates, Bochy included, and see who best fit a club that is on the rise.

Instead, they went with their gut, which is exactly how La Russa manages and picked a Hall of Famer. Just maybe not the right one.