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The search for a new Chicago White Sox manager begins as Tony La Russa resigns after health issues make it ‘impossible’ to continue

The search for the next Chicago White Sox manager has begun after Tony La Russa announced he will not be returning for the 2023 season.

“It has become clear that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023,” La Russa said in a statement Monday. “The timing of this announcement now allows the front office to fill the manager position with their other off-season priorities.

“I was hired to provide positive, distinctive leadership and support. Our record is the proof. I have not done my job.”

La Russa read the statement, adding more thoughts, before answering questions as Sox players watched from the back of the convention center at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“I’m angry that I let them down this year,” La Russa said of the players.

The Hall of Fame manager, who turns 78 on Tuesday, won World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and St. Louis Cardinals (2006 and 2011). With 2,900 wins, he is second among all managers in the highest division.

La Russa – who previously worked on the South Side from 1979-86 – returned to the Sox after the 2020 season, hoping for more post-season success with a team full of talent. They won the American League Central in 2021, but lost in four games to the Houston Astros in an AL Division Series.

The Sox started this season with World Series ambitions. They finished arguably the most disappointing team in baseball and missed the playoffs. They went into the final series of the season against the Minnesota Twins, one game under .500.

“None of us are happy that this is the end result,” said Rick Hahn, Sox general manager. “Tony was brought in with the best of intentions and sheer motivation to take us to that last level of championship winning, to finish this rebuild with championships.

“We came up short and that’s disappointing across the board, and it’s a shame it ends this way because you never want someone’s health to get in the way of their ambitious career goals. But that’s how it turned out.”

Speaking generally about what they look for in the next manager, Hahn said: “The right candidate is someone who has recent experience in the dugout with an organization that has competed for championships. Ideally, it’s someone who is an excellent communicator, who understands how the game has grown and evolved over the past ten years, but at the same time, respect for old-fashioned sensibilities will also be important.

“One thing that might break the mold of at least the last few hires, having a history with the White Sox, having some sort of connection to White Sox UKTN, is by no means a requirement.”

Hahn did mention one name specifically: acting manager Miguel Cairo.

“Based on how he has performed as an acting manager, (Cairo) definitely deserves an interview and will get one,” Hahn said. “But outside of Miguel, having that history with the White Sox isn’t necessarily a trait we’re looking for this time around.”

La Russa last passed on August 28. He met reporters at about 4:00 p.m. before the August 30 game against the Kansas City Royals for his typical interview session, but less than an hour before the first pitch, the team announced that he would fail. evening at the direction of his doctors.

La Russa never received permission from his doctors to return, and the team announced on September 24 that he would not be back for the rest of this season.

La Russa said he had a pacemaker installed in February and was cleared by his doctors to begin spring training as scheduled. He had analyzed a second health problem while inactive with the pacemaker.

“As a result, a corrective plan has been developed by my medical team and implementation has begun,” said La Russa. “My overall prognosis is good and I would like to thank everyone who has contacted me with good wishes regarding my health.”

As for the re-management, La Russa said: “Right now my 100% focus is to do what (the doctors) tell me to do and get through it. The process has some length. It’s not like the pacemaker, you put it in and I walk out later that day.

“All I know is that the love for the game will never die. It’s all I really know, other than I think I can run a bookstore.”

The Sox showed signs of playing to their potential early on in Cairo’s run as acting manager, winning 13 out of 19 games. But a 10-7 loss to the Cleveland Guardians in 11 innings on September 20 started an eight loss series.

“You never want a new manager,” Sox pitcher Lance Lynn said in San Diego on Sunday. “That most likely means you haven’t done your job as a player. In this case, the health of (La Russa) and we were not playing to our caliber as players. We have a lot that we have to do individually to make sure the next guy doesn’t come in and we don’t lay an egg.

‘That is the truth. It doesn’t matter who’s in charge if you don’t win games and play good baseball. You never know what a new voice will bring, but all in all, as players, we need to play better quality baseball all season instead of doing some stretching here and there.”

Instead of preparing for the playoffs, the Sox are charting the next direction for the franchise.

“There’s no one associated with this organization, at least on the baseball side — including the uniformed guys, scouts, player development — who don’t find the past year unacceptable,” Hahn said. “And extremely frustrating and disappointing. Many hours, time, effort, fan support and dollars were put into trying to create a successful expanded window for this team to compete.

“While things looked like it was six months ago, it hasn’t happened. This year’s squandering is something that I individually know I will carry with me for a while. And I think everyone in our group on the baseball side or in uniform would repeat those feelings to themselves.

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