White Sox manager Pedro Grifol never felt his job was in jeopardy

Grifol revealed a level of communication with Chris Getz and Jerry Reinsdorf that would have made him privy to his future for a bit, and for the chairman’s expectation to compete next season not to have caught him flat-footed.

SHARE White Sox manager Pedro Grifol never felt his job was in jeopardy
Oakland Athletics v Chicago White Sox

Despite a horrendous season, White Sox manager Pedro Grifol will return next year.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

With reports leaking that White Sox manager Pedro Grifol was safe, few were on pins and needles waiting for new Sox general manager Chris Getz to confirm that Grifol will return in 2024.

Least of all Grifol himself.

“I never once felt that my job was in jeopardy,” Grifol said Friday. “In all my conversations, with [Getz] and even Rick [Hahn] and Kenny [Williams] and Jerry [Reinsdorf] prior to [Hahn and Williams] being dismissed, I never felt that way.”

A day earlier, chairman Reinsdorf called this Sox season “absolutely the worst season I’ve ever been through,” enough to have prompted the surprise firings of careerlong Sox executives, including Williams, the team’s now-former executive vice president, who Reins-dorf repeatedly said is “like a son” to him.

Given such turnover, it feels bold to claim a sense of security. But Grifol, in his first season managing a major-league team, indicated he knew from his communications with Getz and Reinsdorf that he still had a future, and he wasn’t caught flat-footed by Reinsdorf saying he expects to compete next season.

“We’ve spoken about it,” Grifol said. “[Reins-dorf] and I have spoken about it. Me and Chris have spoken about it. He and Chris have spoken about it. When you have a core of players like this, like we have, there’s always an opportunity to do something special.”

During the Sox’ failed bid to sign slugger Manny Machado in 2019 — a free-agent pursuit they’re unlikely to match anytime soon — Hahn often recited a version of the phrase, “People want to see the baby, not hear about the delivery,” to hold off on issuing updates.

With a month left before Getz can truly start work on meaningful acquisitions or hirings, he and Grifol have been similarly vague about how the Sox will brighten their future: They’ll seek to improve in any way possible. They believe their assembled talent is better than what the on-field results suggest — an assessment that’s almost an annual Sox tradition at this point. And on Friday, Grifol touted the importance of finishing the year healthy so much that he had to clarify that there would be no let-up in the Sox’ on-field intensity.

To be fair, after the last few years, prioritizing health as a way forward rings true for at least part of this roster.

“Doctors told me all I need is rest,” third baseman Yoan Moncada said via interpreter of his troubled back. “Honestly, I just need to find a different way to do things in my preparation. That’s something I have to figure out during the offseason — try to do new things that can help me to stay healthy.”

More rigorous monitoring of players’ offseason activities was one of the few specific plans Reinsdorf offered Thursday for how the Sox will operate better under Getz. Having Getz as one single voice at the top is more of an implied benefit.

“It was a little different because [there were] two guys running it,” outfielder Gavin Sheets said of the Hahn-Williams era. “I mainly had talks with Rick, not Kenny as much, so it’s good now that you know where it’s coming from with one guy in control, and with [Getz] being a good communicator, it makes him a good fit.”

He’ll have to be a good fit for Grifol to pull off the broad improvement in play he aimed for this spring but was unable to achieve under the previous leadership. Getz’s remark Thursday that Grifol “has had to wear a lot of hats” was an acknowledgement that Grifol’s efforts this season were inhibited.

Grifol didn’t fill in any details: “The whole season’s been a challenge.”

Digging out from it will be an even larger undertaking.

The Latest
The unidentified 33-year-old man was in the 3800 block of South Wells Street at the Wentworth Gardens residential complex when someone shot him, police said.
Chicago police say the person was seen running with a handgun and attempted to throw it away but was “unsuccessful.” When the person picked the handgun up again officers opened fire, striking them multiple times, according to police.
Cuypers is enrolled in the UEFA Certificate in Football Management class.
The Hall is getting ready to welcome its second class of inductees next month at the Circa sportsbook in Las Vegas.
It does have a feeling of being incomplete as Summer League is in full swing, but luckily for the executive vice president of basketball operations he still has time to continue building out the youth movement.