Pedro Grifol is wasting no time implementing his agenda -- starting at the top with effective communication.
On his second day on the job, the new White Sox manager paid a call to current outfielder Eloy Jimenez. The 25-year-old Jimenez was back home in the Dominican Republic when he answered, and was immediately greeted by Grifol with the nickname “Caballo,” Spanish for horse.
Throughout their nearly minute-and-a-half conversation took place entirely in Spanish, the two touched on their excitement about building a relationship together and goals for the season -- namely, a World Series win.
Grifol comes to Chicago after nearly a decade with the Kansas City Royals. He joined the organization in 2013 as a minor league coach and eventually worked his way up to be named the Royals bench coach in 2020. He was also part of Kansas City’s World Series win in 2015.
Born to Cuban immigrants and raised in Miami, Grifol’s roots are in Florida. He remained in the sunshine state for college, participating in two College World Series for Florida State and being named an All-American for his 1991 campaign.
After being selected by the Minnesota Twins in the sixth round of the 1991 MLB Draft, Grifol bounced around the minor leagues with both the Twins and New York Mets.
The 52-year-old Grifol is replacing Tony La Russa, who announced he was stepping down earlier this month due to health concerns. The 78-year-old Hall of Famer and three-time World Series champion started his managerial career with the White Sox in 1978. After nine seasons with Chicago, La Russa spent long stretches with both the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals before eventually returning to the White Sox in 2021.
In his first season back with the White Sox, La Russa led them to a Division Series loss to the Houston Astros -- the franchise’s best finish since 2008.
He seemed far more limited this season, leaving abruptly on Aug. 30 after doctors advised him to undergo testing related to a heart issue. La Russa was ultimately out for the rest of the season and the White Sox struggled to maintain their momentum, losing 10 of their last 15 games and missing the playoffs altogether.
It was initially speculated that the White Sox were leaning toward rehiring former manager Ozzie Guillen, who led the franchise to a 2005 World Series win. However, early this week rumblings started to emerge linking Grifol with the position.
The White Sox made it official on Thursday with an announcement at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Grifol has immediately entrenched himself in Chicago, attending last night’s Blackhawks game with White Sox catcher and fellow Cuban-American Yasmani Grandal.