Thursday, June 6, 2024

White Sox Manager Pedro Grifol’s Job In Jeopardy As Losing Streak Continues

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It’s no secret that the White Sox are bad this season. They have tied a franchise record of 13 consecutive losses, are on pace for 123 losses, a modern MLB record, and rank last in the MLB in runs scored. Even with the abysmal record the White Sox cannot pick inside the top ten of the MLB draft. As the losses and frustration continue to mount the target on Pedro Grifol’s back continues to get bigger.

For a season that hasn’t provided much reason for optimism this week’s series against the Cubs felt important. White Sox starter Erick Fedde even admitted their visit to Wrigley Field carried extra weight. 

“These games, they mean a lot,” Fedde said after Wednesday night’s game. “We haven’t given Sox fans a ton to cheer about this year. And these games, at least to me, this was my most important game of the season up to this point. Wanted to be a little better. Battled, but it sucks we lost.” 

Fedde pitched good enough to win. He left the game with a two-run lead after pitching five innings of three-run ball with no walks and seven strikeouts. But Grifol made a series of questionable bullpen decisions that resulted in the White Sox throwing away a lead for the second consecutive game. 

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It highlights why there is growing speculation over Grifol’s job security. The White Sox are just 15-22 in games that they have held a lead this season. Not all of this is on Grifol. It is a poorly constructed roster, that has been devasted by injuries. However, blown leads in winnable games don’t help a manager who is on the hot seat.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, posted an article on Wednesday saying that the White Sox will fire Grifol this season. Grifol is just halfway through his second season on the Southside. His first stint as a manager has been an absolute disaster.  He holds a 76-148 record as a skipper and panic is beginning to set in.

After a Memorial Day loss to the Orioles, he opted to call out his team for playing “flat”, a comment that received pushback from several players. Rosenthal reported that a player who wished to remain anonymous said that Grifol making his comments public after saying the same thing during a closed-door meeting is what irked a lot of players. 

With cracks showing in the locker room, is Grifol the man the White Sox wants overseeing the growth of the young talent coming through the farm system? It’s a question that will ultimately decide Grifol’s fate as the White Sox manager.

“I don’t make those decisions. And I’m certainly not going to worry about it,” Grifol told reporters before Wednesday’s game. “My concern is making sure this team is ready to play tonight, making adjustments from yesterday, and trying to see if we can snap this losing streak. That’s no fun. Extremely painful because we’ve lost so many painful games. But I’m certainly not gonna make this about me and my future here. I’m not gonna decide that anyway.” 

Grifol remains confident he can manage at the MLB level. The front office did not spend money over the offseason, and Dylan Cease was traded away over the offseason. It is certainly unfair to place all the blame on Grifol. But he hasn’t done anything to garner any sympathy. The front office promised a fundamentally sound baseball team, especially on the defensive end. The White Sox defense currently ranks at the bottom of the league in nearly every defensive metric. Meanwhile, the offense does not have much of an approach at the plate and struggles with runners in scoring position. Overall there are little to no bright spots on Grifol’s resume. But the 54-year-old skipper remains unphased. 

“I’m really comfortable with who I am as a baseball man and these coaches are really good coaches that really care,” Grifol said.  “And we bleed this. This is what we do for a living. There’s a lot of sacrifices being made every single day, by these coaches, by myself, to help these guys perform and continue to improve on a daily basis for us to win games.”

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