Tony La Russa’s second go-round as manager of the Chicago White Sox is going to last at least another year.
According to the Chicago Tribune, La Russa is “making plans” with the Sox front office for 2022 and is set on managing next season.
There were questions after the Sox made a quick exit from the playoffs, but La Russa shared his desire to stay at the helm almost immediately after the Sox were eliminated by the Astros in the division series.
Though team president Rick Hahn has not said so publicly, La Russa shared this week that he has been told he’s coming back in 2022.
“Yeah, it happened right after the season was over,” La Russa told the Tribune. “We’re making plans, talking about next year, absolutely.”
La Russa, 77, helped pilot the Sox to their best regular season record since 2005, but expectations for the postseason were high in Chicago. And before that, fans and writers debated whether the Sox were successful during the regular season because of La Russa or in spite of him.
There’s no question the team had plenty of talent, and with some postseason experience under their belt thanks to the 2020 American League wild card series, the hope in Chicago was that La Russa would help propel the Sox past the first playoff round.
Instead, they mustered just one win against the Astros and were otherwise mostly embarrassed. The hitting was bad, the pitching was worse, and the 2021 Sox season ended in a whimper.
Despite that, the Sox had plenty to celebrate about their 2021 campaign. They overcame a smattering of injuries to key players and held a comfortable division lead for nearly the entire season.
Their struggles against the Astros in the ALDS may have revealed the gulf between the Sox and some of the top teams in the American League, but the front office must not feel as though La Russa is what’s holding the team back from joining that top tier.
Chicago is expected to have a $155 million payroll going into 2022, so they have room to make additions to improve further, namely at second base and right field.
For now, La Russa looks in place to manage the Sox for another season, though he is not looking to overstay his welcome.
“You check and see whether you’ve got the desire to continue to manage. I do,” La Russa has said of how he has evaluated when to move on. “A lot of people that know me know that that’s what I go through. I think it’s a fair thing. It’s fair to the ownership, fair to the players. (That way) you don’t get stuck with a guy that doesn’t belong there.”