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White Sox hire Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol as manager

Grifol was considered for the Royals opening as well.

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MLB: FEB 27 Kansas City Royals Photo Day Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The White Sox are expected to name Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol as their new manager, according to multiple reports. Grifol was also considered for the Royals managerial opening before they hired Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.

Grifol had worked for the Royals since 2012, after over a decade of work with the Mariners, Twins, and Mets. In 2013, he joined the Royals’ big league staff, taking over hitting coach duties from George Brett, after Brett temporarily took the reigns following the reassignment of coaches Andre David and Jack Maloof. Grifol was reassigned himself the next year when Royals hitters continued to flounder, taking over catching coach duties and quality control. He was considered for the managerial opening when Ned Yost retired, and interviewed for the Giants and Tigers managerial openings in 2019, but returned to serve as bench coach under Mike Matheny in 2020.

Grifol has served as the connective tissue between the Royals’ analytics department and the on-field staff. He was part of the push to implement defensive shifts and sought to improve Salvador Perez’s framing.

“I love combining the old-fashioned gut feel and looking at the large sample numbers to see how they match,” Grifol says.

The 52-year-old Miami native is well-liked among players and is bilingual, often serving as a translator for Spanish-speaking players. In addition to the Royals and White Sox, Grifol was interviewed for the managerial opening with the Miami Marlins this off-season.

Grifol reportedly blew away White Sox executives with his interview. He will replace Tony LaRussa, who retired after two seasons in his return to managing. The White Sox, who many considered to be a serious contender to win the pennant, are coming off an enormously disappointing 81-81 season.

Grifol would have made a lot of sense for the Royals, and probably should have gotten the job in 2019 instead of Matheny, but at this point the Royals really needed a clean break and a managerial candidate from outside the organization. It hurts to see him go to a division rival, but we still wish him the best of luck, or at least the amount of luck that allows him to finish just behind the Royals in the standings.