Miguel Cairo’s performance as interim manager has been close to perfect. The White Sox‘ bench coach is 13-6 since subbing in for everyday skipper Tony La Russa in light of his recent heart issue.
Cairo’s substitution as interim manager has been so good some believe teams will have their sights set on Cairo as a managerial candidate.
“He’s going to be a hot commodity,” White Sox major league instructor, Jerry Narron, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
There will likely be teams hunting for new managers this offseason. Joe Girardi (Philadelphia Phillies), Joe Maddon (Los Angeles Angels), Charlie Montoyo (Toronto Blue Jays) and Chris Woodward (Texas Rangers) were all let go earlier this season.
The Sox have played with a lot more charisma and fire since Cairo took over.
This could be partly because of Cairo’s rah-rah speech at the beginning of his temporary stint as acting manager. He presented the team with a “take it or leave it” type ultimatum heading into the final stretch of the season.
Since then, in September, the Sox have dominated the bats. They rank first in MLB in RBIs (96) and third in batting average (.270). Uncharacteristically to this season, the Sox cleaned up their approach to the power ball, putting up the third-most home runs of the month so far with 26.
Cairo’s impact on the White Sox is tangible, as evidenced by their improvements at the plate. They hope to continue this momentum into the final games of the regular season.
As for La Russa, he said it’s “uncertain” when he will return to his post as manager.
He flew to Arizona after medical evaluations for his heart in Chicago suggested a visit to his doctors. La Russa mentioned he’s had problems with the pacemaker he had inserted recently, but the doctors “fixed it” during his sabbatical.
Despite receiving clearance to travel with the team and participate in Dave Stewart’s jersey retirement in Oakland, he remains away from the White Sox dugout. He is awaiting the all-clear from his experts to make a return once he’s regained his strength.
The club has a vital weekday series versus the Cleveland Guardians at home. The team is 3.5 games back on the Guardians for the AL Central lead and every win narrows the gap.
Under Cairo’s leadership, it’s hopeful the Sox can steal wins away from the division leaders.
“He’s done a fantastic job from Day 1 when he told everyone what he expected from everybody,” Narron told the Sun-Times. “He has communicated extremely well, he has a lot of energy in the dugout during games and he’s come in with a very, very positive attitude and message. These guys bought into it.”