‘Baffling on all measures’: What if Marcus Stroman isn’t only free agent crossing White Sox, La Russa off his list?

The White Sox’s decision to hire Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa — specifically, owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s decision — was very curious from the moment it was announced, whether or not you agreed with the decision. 

La Russa was nine years removed from his previous on-field job, and at 76 years old, it was fair to wonder how he would connect with a generation of ballplayers that embraced a social-justice philosophy he had been critical of in the past. But what doesn’t matter is what fans and media types think. What matters is what players think.

And we got a peek behind that curtain on Tuesday morning. 

News broke Monday night that La Russa had been arrested in February and charged with DUI in Arizona. There were lots and lots of opinions bandied about on social media, including one that mattered more than most. This, from free-agent starter Marcus Stroman. 

And then, the tweet that really should worry White Sox fans — and the owner, though Reinsdorf seems bound and determined to ride out the La Russa storm into the season. 

Yeah. And if the hiring of La Russa is enough to, apparently, convince Stroman to cross the White Sox off his list, you can bet he’s not alone in that thinking. 

Stroman would have been a very good fit for what the White Sox are trying to do going forward. He’s a young starter who has had success both in the AL and NL (for a short stint with the Mets in 2019). The White Sox are loaded at most positions with young, rising stars, but a team like that can never have too many good starting options. Stroman opted out of the 2020 season, which means there is probably a bit of rust on the arm but he saved a year of wear and tear. Also, Stroman is exactly the kind of personable, opinionated player a fan base can quickly love. 

So, yeah, losing the interest of a player like Stroman is troubling. 

GATTO: La Russa’s DUI arrest makes a bad hiring look even worse

Also troubling is that DUI, which we skimmed over earlier. That’s not a thing to skim over, especially considering it’s the second time La Russa has been detained by police officers after getting behind the wheel with an elevated blood-alcohol level — or, in this case, at least the suspicion of such. The first one happened in 2007, when he was managing the Cardinals. That neither incident resulted in harm to another person is wonderful, and should in no way lessen the badness of what La Russa did. 

That’s the kind of thing that should at least give an organization second thoughts, but the White Sox confirmed that Reinsdorf knew about the DUI — which happened in February, but wasn’t officially filed until Oct. 28 because of a paperwork error. And a high-ranking White Sox employee told USA Today that La Russa was in no danger of losing his job because of the DUI incident in Arizona. 

Will it matter now that his hiring is causing free agents to cross the White Sox off their list?

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