Chicago White Sox: Too many red flags surround AJ Hinch

Chicago White Sox (Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago White Sox (Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports) /

Could the Chicago White Sox hire the disgraced former manager?

In a move that made many Chicago White Sox fans happy, the team announced on Monday that it was parting ways with manager Rick Renteria, setting the stage for what will be a critical hire. One rumor circulating the internet is that the team is considering bringing in former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch. While that may excite some fans, there are simply too many red flags surrounding Hinch.

I understand the level of frustration from White Sox fans. The team has one of, if not the most impressive collection of young talent on the roster in all of Major League Baseball. When they began this rebuild, Renteria seemed like a fine candidate. Expectations were low and the focus was on resetting the team to be competitive in the future. Few upper echelon managers would be interested in that kind of situation.

However, just as the Chicago Cubs did when they fired Renteria and hired Joe Maddon, the White Sox decided to part ways with their skipper just as they are entering their championship window. Naturally, it would make sense to target a manager with a championship pedigree. In fact, general manager Rick Hahn said as much in his end of year press conference.

While Hinch would fit that description, the circumstances surrounding his World Series victory cannot be overlooked. Of course, I’m referring to the cheating scandal for which Hinch was suspended for the 2020 season. His Houston Astros were found by MLB of illegally stealing signs. The team had an intricate system in which they obtained the signs through a video feed and transmitted them to the hitter through a variety of audible signals.

I won’t continue to beat that drum (or trash can) but suffice it to say the Astros cheated in 2017 and AJ Hinch was their manager.

Those fans supporting his campaign to be the next White Sox manager will point to the report where Hinch claimed that he was “unaware of any wrongdoing.” In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, Hinch’s comments bordered on incredible, but at a minimum were unbelievable.

When asked about his biggest regret, Hinch stated, “I should have had a more forceful interaction at the appropriate time, which would have been right when I found out.”

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So let’s look at the situation this way. At best, he was the man in charge of an organization that implemented one of the most sophisticated cheating scandals in modern sports and had no idea it was going on — which is a giant red flag. At worst, he had complete knowledge of the situation, was complicit, and then lied about it. Another giant red flag. Considering there are other candidates with championship experience without all the baggage, the White Sox would be wise to pass on A.J. Hinch.