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La Russa steps down as White Sox manager over heart issue Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

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CHICAGO. Tony La Russa stepped down as manager of the Chicago White Sox on Monday with a heart problem, ending a disappointing two-year career in the same spot where the Hall of Famer got his first job as a major league skipper.

La Russa, a three-time World Series champion who turns 78 on Tuesday, has missed the last 34 games with the underwhelming White Sox. He left the team on 30 August and was eventually advised by doctors to stay away from the dugout.

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In February, La Russa had a pacemaker implanted, and doctors later discovered another heart problem that he did not report.

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“It has become apparent that the length of the healing and recovery process from this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be manager of the White Sox in 2023,” he said in a statement. “The timing of this announcement now allows the front office to include filling the manager’s position in their other off-season priorities.”

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Chicago started the season with World Series hopes, but was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play. It was 79-80 ahead of Monday night’s game against Minnesota.

“The results of our team this season are the final reality. This is an unacceptable disappointment. There were pluses, but too many minuses, ”said La Russa. “I was hired to provide positive, meaningful leadership and support. Our track record is proof of that. I didn’t do my job.”

Bench coach Miguel Cairo took over following the departure of La Russa. The White Sox showed spark immediately after the change, winning 10 of 14. But in late September, they lost eight games in a row, shattering their playoff hopes.

La Russa, a close friend of White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, was unexpectedly hired in October 2020 and led the team to the AL Central title last year.

But for much of 2022, the White Sox were drooling and chants of “Fire, Tony! Fire Tony! in the guaranteed rate field.

“I have never been disappointed or upset by the White Sox fans, including those who chant “Fire Tony” from time to time,” La Russa said. “They come to games with a passion for our team and a strong desire to win. Loud and excited when we win, they rightly get upset when we play poorly.”

All-Star Shortstop Tim Anderson and batters Eloy Jimenez as well as Louis Robert missed significant time due to injury. Catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Yoan Moncada there were also health issues and they performed poorly when they were on the field.

There were also embarrassing setbacks, such as when the White Sox faced the first ever 8–5 treble in major league history during a loss to the Minnesota on July 4.

La Russa continued to be a lightning rod for fans who weren’t thrilled about his hiring. His lineups were in question, as were his decisions in games.

Some fans chanted La Russa’s dismissal after the bizarre call for a deliberate outing to the Dodgers. Three Turner despite the score 1-2 on 9 June. Bennett Sousa just bounced off the 0-2 slider, allowing the runner to move from first to second.

With the base open, La Russa chose to get away from Turner despite having two hits. This backfired when Max Munsey hit a three-run homer to lead Los Angeles to an 11–9 victory.

Another moment that raised eyebrows occurred at the start of the 2021 season.

During a 1–0 loss to Cincinnati, La Russa did not know the rule that would allow him to use Jose Abreu like an auto runner on second base, not closer Liam Hendrix in the 10th inning.

With a record of 2900-2514 in 35 years with Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis, La Russa is second only to Connie Mac in baseball’s career wins list. He overtook John McGraw last season.

But there were big questions about whether La Russa was the right person for the job when the White Sox hired him to replace Rick Renteria. He hasn’t filled out a roster card since 2011, when St. Louis defeated Texas in the World Series. There were doubts as to how someone known more for his frown than his smile could fit into a jovial team that had just made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 with the White Sox.

Then, shortly after he was hired, news broke of an arrest on charges of driving under the influence.

La Russa blew a tire on the Lexus he was driving after hitting a curb in February of that year in Arizona after dinner with friends. The case was filed on October 28, the day before the White Sox announced the hiring of La Russa.

He eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving and was sentenced to one day of house arrest, a fine of nearly $1,400, and 20 hours of community service.

La Russa also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Florida in 2007 after police found him sleeping and smelling of alcohol inside his SUV at a traffic light.

La Russa won the championship with Oakland in 1989 and with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. The former major league infielder and Sparky Anderson are the only managers to win the World Series in the American and National Leagues.

He landed his first major league management job at age 34 when the White Sox promoted him from Triple-A to replace the sacked Don Kessinger in the 1979 season. He took over in August of that year and led them to a 522–510 record in eight seasons.

The 1983 team won 99 games en route to the AL West championship—Chicago’s first playoff appearance since the 1959 Go-Go White Sox won the pennant. But La Russa was fired in 1986 by then-general manager Ken Harrelson after the White Sox started 26-38, something Reinsdorf long regretted.

ST. LOUIS – Rescuer Giovanni Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals signed a two-year, $11 million contract that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could be worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so lucky,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have words to accurately describe how I feel.”

He was received by the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in a trade that sent a first baseman. Luke Voight to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos receives a $500,000 signing bonus and a $4.5 million salary next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price could increase by $3.5 million for games completed in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25, 26-30 and 31-35 and $1 million each for 36-40 and 41 and more.

He will receive $250,000 for the Rivera/Hoffman Recipient of the Year award, $50,000 for All-Star and World Series MVP selection, and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos’ salary this year is $2.41 million.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and could potentially become a free agent after the 2024 season.


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