White Sox' manager search reminded Reinsdorf of Bulls' Karnišovas hire

Sox' manager search reminded Reinsdorf of Karnišovas hire originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

On Thursday, the Chicago White Sox formally introduced former Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol as the team's new manager.

And while the jury will remain out on Grifol's aptitude for the job until the games are played, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the hire.

For one, Grifol has championship experience on Kansas City's World Series winning staff in 2015. He also won Thursday's opening press conference by emphasizing communication and accountability, two qualities missing from the White Sox' uninspiring 2022 season.

And last but certainly not least, he is the first manager without previous ties to the White Sox to be hired by the organization since 1992.

General manager Rick Hahn hinted at the latter dynamic in a press conference with reporters Thursday, going so far as to say the brain trust's managerial search reminded White Sox and Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf of the process that led the Bulls to hire Artūras Karnišovas as executive vice president of basketball operations in 2020.

"I was on the phone with Jerry and we were talking through the candidates and where things sat and what was coming next. He said, ‘You know what this process reminds me of?’... He said, ‘This reminds me of the process the Bulls used when we hired Artūras,’" Hahn told reporters.

"And that made me proud because, although we did not necessarily coordinate with them or get any sort of blueprint from them, I know they (the Bulls) went about it in a way where they were open-minded, looked outside the organization, got recommendations from a numerous, diverse group of individuals from around the game and wound up making what, at least in my opinion, is a sensational hire.”

Indeed, Karnišovas' hire was met with acclaim, given his successful background as an executive with the Denver Nuggets. And it led to a widespread overhaul of the Bulls' front office, headlined by the hires of Marc Eversley (general manager), JJ Polk and Pat Connelly (both assistant general managers) — but also including the expansion of the team's player development staff.

In turn — and by acquiring Billy Donovan (as head coach), DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vučević, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso in a 16-month span — the Bulls in 2021-22 posted its first winning season (46-36) and clinched its first playoff berth since 2017. While the team have yet to establish itself as a surefire title contender under the new regime, it was a marked step forward.

Led by Grifol, his staff and whatever personnel changes are made this offseason, the White Sox are shooting for immediate improvement as well, especially coming off a season that began with World Series expectations, but ended short of the playoffs with an 81-81 record.

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