After a wildly disappointing start to the season for the White Sox, somebody has to be put to blame. While many players have been disappointing, the brunt of the blame has been placed on manager Tony La Russa.
The narrative that he’s lost his touch isn’t too far off. In a game against the Dodgers last Thursday, LaRussa intentionally walked Trea Turner with a 1-2 count and 2 outs. This decision would directly lead to a Max Muncy 3-run homer and an 11-9 loss.
Sox fans have turned against him, with “Fire Tony” chants echoing throughout Guaranteed Rate Field as the white sox choked a lead against the Rangers. It appears that Tony LaRussa might be entering his last days as an MLB manager, or as the manager of the White Sox at the very least.
After firing Joe Girardi, the Philadelphia Phillies have been spectacular. The firing of Tony La Russa could work in similar ways for the White Sox. Here are a few players who might be in for some good games if Tony La Russa is fired:
Lance Lynn (88.4% rostered)
A clip of Lance Lynn getting in a shouting match with White Sox 3rd base coach Joe McEwing has been one of the main anti-La Russa clips circulating around the internet.
Lance Lynn and the third base coach get in a spat, a breakdown pic.twitter.com/cBI5W11t1b
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) June 15, 2022
In his first start of the season after an IL stint, Lance Lynn only put up 4 innings with 10 hits and 3 ER allowed. While not encouraging, most of this should be attributed to rust and La Russa. Having registered top 5 Cy Young finishes in each of the past three seasons, fantasy owners should expect Lynn to perform better as the season goes on (especially if La Russa is gone). A move for Lynn at his lowest could yield unprecedented value for you.
Dylan Cease (98.7% rostered)
Dylan Cease turned in a measly 8-point start against the Dodgers two games ago without even surrendering an earned run. Cease put up a game like this because nearly a third of his runs this season are unearned. The culprit for Cease’s high unearned run count is fielding errors from a league-worst White Sox defense. While the White Sox don’t have the most talented defense, their defense is made worse by La Russa’s refusal to use the shift. I am personally not a big fan of the shift and its prominence in today’s game, but it is being used for a reason. The White Sox defense can improve with a manager who is more willing to use the shift. In turn, Dylan Cease will pick up more wins, making him a far more valuable fantasy piece.
Yoan Moncada (50.3% rostered)
Yoan Moncada has been batting .141 on the season. That number alone should indicate how poor of a season Moncada is having. Though just yesterday, he showed serious signs of life going 5-6 with 5 RBIs. La Russa could very well not be the cause of Moncada’s extended slump, but he’s heating up right when La Russa could be walking out the door. It might seem reactionary, but I would consider trading for Moncada.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Tanner Houck (34.2% rostered)
With Garrett Whitlock out for a while on the IL15, the Red Sox are going to be looking for a starter to plug in. After Kutter Crawford pitched some great shutout innings against the Mariners, many assume he’s got Whitlock’s spot. However, I think Houck could make a return to the rotation for a deserved second shot. Houck has been hyped up as the “next Chris Sale” by Red Sox analysts for years. I’d like to see him get more than a month’s chance to prove that. I’d bet that Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora feel the same.
Even if Houck doesn’t pick up a start for the rest of his career, he has pitched very well out of the bullpen with an OBA of .204 and a 2.77 ERA. At this rate, Houck can be a low-tier pitcher in terms of fantasy which should work well enough for those with bad pitching rosters. A Houck pickup could work especially well if Houck is promoted to the currently-open Red Sox closer job.
Bryson Stott (34.2% rostered)
After turning in two straight truly atrocious months (.133 BA in April, .116 in May), Stott has been heating up as of late. Stott seems to be one of the Phils who has somehow benefited most from Girardi’s firing. While currently holding a .183 average, Stott has batted .286 with 4 homers and a .943 OPS in the past two weeks. His bad start to the season makes Stott’s fantasy profile look bad at first glance. Stott could be one of this season’s biggest steals.
See week 3’s picks here