Grifol, 52, just completed his 10th season as a member of the Royals' coaching staff. For the past three years, he served as the team's bench coach, and prior to that he was K.C.'s quality control coach, catching coach, hitting coach, and special assignment coach. He had been a candidate to become the Royals' next manager, but the club wound up hiring Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro to fill the role.
Notably, former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén was, but Sox brass decided to hire from outside the organization.
The Sox were left in need of a new permanent manager after Tony La Russa stepped down from his post because of ongoing health issues. He initially stepped away in August of this year on the advice of his doctors and underwent a procedure to repair his pacemaker. For a time, the 78-year-old La Russa seemed poised to return to the Chicago dugout, but ultimately the Hall of Famer and his doctors decided the prudent course would be to retire from managing for a second and final time.
The Sox after the abbreviated 2020 season parted ways with then-manager Rick Renteria despite the fact that he guided him to their first postseason appearance since 2008. By all accounts, the surprising decision was forced by owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who then dictated the hiring of La Russa, who had previously guided the team from 1979 to 1986, despite not having managed since 2011. In La Russa's first season, the Sox won the American League Central title but posted a lower winning percentage than they did in 2020 under Renteria. Chicago was also bounced in the first round of the playoffs, just like the team was in 2020.
The 2021 season brought further disappointments, as the Sox, in large measure because of injuries and some under-performance at the individual level, finished 81-81 and in a distant second place in the AL Central. Grifol stands to inherit a roster with a solid core but questionable depth and a similarly questionable commitment on the part of ownership to make substantial improvements. That said, the bar set in 2022 is fairly low, and the AL Central again figures to be one of the weakest divisions in MLB. As such, there's opportunity for Grifol to realize substantial improvements in his first season at the helm.