Jerry Reinsdorf strolled through the Chicago White Sox clubhouse Saturday afternoon as a group of reporters waited in vain by Tim Anderson’s locker.
Passing by, the president of the Sox told us to ask some good questions.
“Sure,” I said. “Come here”.
Reinsdorf smiled and said to contact Scott Reifert, the Sox’s senior vice president of communications and gatekeeper to the president. It was the 86-year-old Reinsdorf’s unique way of saying, “There’s no chance I’m talking to any of you.”
The last time I recall Reinsdorf answering a question about his team in a group setting was during the 2019 winter meetings. When asked if he was optimistic about the Sox’s 2020 moves, he replied, “I’m tired of being optimistic and then see that my optimism was misplaced.
There are plenty of questions we’d like to ask Reinsdorf about the state of the Red Sox, a team that was built to be a World Series contender but is struggling to get above .500 as the dog days of August roll around.
Here are seven of those questions:
Are you still optimistic that the Red Sox can make it to the World Series?
While still in contention, the Red Sox are nowhere near the team everyone expected to see in March. “We’ve got to get a lot of wins to say we’re really in contention,” manager Tony La Russa said Saturday.
Does Reinsdorf think they can flip a switch in October if they badly win the AL Central? La Russa noted that his 2006 St. Louis Cardinals won it all after 83 regular-season wins, but this team has shown no signs of a miraculous ending.
Why aren’t the Sox one of the top bidders for superstar Juan Soto?
Only one player would instantly ease Sox fans’ pain over the terrifying first four months of the 2022 season. That player is Soto, the Washington Nationals outfielder who turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract offer and is being purchased by Nats president Mike Rizzo. The Padres and San Diego Cardinals are two of the reported chasers, while the Red Sox aren’t even mentioned.
While the Red Sox don’t have a superior farm system, their window to win is open and they have several affordable, major-league-ready assets, including Eloy Jimenez, Andrew Vaughn, Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet. It doesn’t make sense that the Sox can’t compete with the Padres for Soto. Or does Reinsdorf not think Soto is worth acquiring because the chances of paying him to stay after 2024 are slim to none?
Are you satisfied with La Russa’s management this season?
OK, we already know the answer to that. Next.
Will La Russa return as manager in 2023 if the Sox don’t make the postseason?
Normally, this would be a question for GM Rick Hahn, but since Reinsdorf was the one who signed La Russa in the first place, it would obviously be his call. We know Reinsdorf won’t fire La Russa a second time, but he could move into a front office job and still have a hand in the team’s future, giving someone younger a chance to run this team.
The real question is whether Reinsdorf would be willing to sacrifice another year with La Russa as coach. knowing how polarizing it is with the fanbase. Do you think La Russa’s management has something to do with the Sox’s malaise, or does he put all the blame on the players?
How safe is Hahn?
While Hahn did a stellar job on the first part of the rebuild, finishing it has been a challenge. Injuries have been a factor, but this Red Sox team has been indifferent on defense and on base, while the bullpen Hahn built has been disappointing.
Reinsdorf has He hasn’t fired a Sox GM since Larry Himes in 1990. when he said Himes got them from point A to point B. “We need to get to point C,” Reinsdorf said. “It is our opinion that Larry Himes is not the best person to take us to Point C, a world championship.”
General manager Ron Schueler resigned in 2000 to make way for Ken Williams, who reached Point C in 2005 before being ousted at the end of the 2012 season to make way for Hahn. They are now back at Point B.
Is Anderson still the face of the Sox?
Reinsdorf has spent much of the past four decades dealing with the mistakes of his athletes, from Scottie Pippen’s refusal to enter a Bulls game to Frank Thomas’s departure from Sox camp due to the “skills clause.” diminished” in his contract to various antics of Dennis Rodman. Anderson is just the latest.
The most popular player on the Sox has been suspended twice in the last year for having contact with an umpire. including a three-game suspension on Saturday that he appealed. The Sox built their “Change the Game” marketing campaign around Anderson, who starred in an Adidas ad in 2019 in which he declared: “Baseball is boring. Watch me change it.
Anderson was reduced to a one-game suspension fine for disturbing a fan in Cleveland. Earlier this season on social media, he told Red Sox studio analyst Ozzie Guillen, the former player who managed the 2005 champions, that “stfu” after Guillen criticized La Russa for sitting Anderson in the second game of a doubleheader in Cleveland.
Is that the change Reinsdorf is looking for?
Are you as frustrated about the 2022 season as most Sox fans?
Former Miami Marlins president David Samson said in 2019 that Reinsdorf once told him that finishing second was the way to go: “He said, ‘You know what, here’s my best advice to you: Finish second every year. Because your fans will say, ‘Wow, we have a chance, we’re in it.’ But there is always the carrot. There is always one more step to take.’”
The Sox released a statement saying Reinsdorf had “no recollection” of making the comment and that he “always considered the second-place team to be the biggest loser.”
The Sox remain in the hunt for the postseason despite their lackluster play. Is that a good enough carrot for 2023? How long is Reinsdorf willing to wait to win another championship?
Curious minds want to know.