Pedro Grifol

Getty Pedro Grifol

After the Chicago White Sox lost their May 26 game against the Baltimore Orioles, manager Pedro Grifol called his team’s efforts “f—— flat”, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. While hardly inspiring, Grifol’s remarks certainly conveyed his frustration with the White Sox’s ongoing struggles this season, especially as the fingers of fans, commentators, and the team’s front office have started squarely pointing at the manager to work it out.

On June 5, Rosenthal reported that Grifol’s job in the White Sox clubhouse was in danger, writing “All of the pieces are in place for a managerial change. The only question is when it will happen.”

The 2024 season is only Grifol’s second as the White Sox’s manager, with the 54-year-old being hired as a first-time bench boss following the retirement of controversial Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa at the end of 2022. With the team coming off an unexpectedly disappointing season in 2022 (81-81) and La Russa having taken the large majority of the heat for their underperformance, then-general manager Rick Hahn touted Grifol as the fresh face who would turn the White Sox around, but 2023 (61-101) and 2024 have only seen the team continue on a downward trajectory.

The White Sox’s Losing Streak Has No End in Sight

As of June 6, the White Sox have the worst record in MLB at 15-47, and with 13 consecutive losses on the board, the team hasn’t won a game since May 21. To start the season, the White Sox recorded 8 shutouts in their first 22 games, the most of any team through 22 games in modern MLB history (since 1901), so even with allowances for the team’s current rebuild pains, their performance has been unprecedentedly abysmal.

Despite the White Sox’s winning percentage continuing to shrink, Grifol attempted to backtrack on his May 26 comments, telling reporters on June 3 that he is happy with his players’ efforts, per Rosenthal.

“Do we make a mistake here and there? Everybody does. But they’re playing really hard,” Grifol said. “I’m not at all questioning that. I really haven’t questioned it that much this year. There have been a few games, but that happens everywhere. Our guys are giving it everything they’ve got 99 percent of the time, they really are.”

A Much-Needed Clubhouse Culture Shift May Cost Grifol His Job

On June 5, Rosenthal projected that the front office’s decision on Grifol’s fate would likely rely on whether they believe in his ability to foster developing players.

“The test of [general manager Chris] Getz’s patience with Grifol likely will come later in the season, when the White Sox are ready to promote some of their top prospects,” Rosenthal wrote. “At that point, Getz will need to decide: Can top young players such as shortstop Colson Montgomery, catcher Edgar Quero and right-hander Drew Thorpe thrive in the environment Grifol has created? Or might the entire team benefit from a change, right then and there?”

Also potentially working against Grifol is the fact that he was an inherited manager, not one appointed by Getz himself. Getz was promoted to general manager in August 2023 after Hahn was fired, but since Grifol was already in place at that time, Getz’s level of support for the current bench boss is relatively unproven. According to the New York Post’s Matt Ehalt on June 5, “it wouldn’t be shocking if [Getz] makes his own hire.”

Still, even as speculation swirls, Grifol is determined not to dwell on any decisions that haven’t yet been made.

“That’s part of the job. Right? I don’t focus on that stuff. It’s a part of the job,” Grifol said on June 5, per NBC Sports’ Ryan Taylor. “We’re not winning. So when you’re not winning, speculation gets higher and higher. It’s a part of what we do. We get signed up to win baseball games. And when you don’t, there’s always a possibility of a change being made.”

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