Eric Hosmer: Grifol will 'thrive' as White Sox manager originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
What do people inside the game and outside Chicago think about the White Sox decision to hire Pedro Grifol as their new manager?
My phone rang. On the other end of the line was former Kansas City Royals All-Star and World Series champion Eric Hosmer who was ready to rave about his former coach and mentor, and what he will bring to the White Sox.
"I'm happy that he finally got a managing job. It's a role that he's deserved for a long time now. I think he's going to thrive in this position and I think it's going to be fun times for everyone out there in Chicago on the South Side," Hosmer said about Grifol in an interview on the White Sox Talk Podcast.
A 12-year veteran now playing for the Boston Red Sox, Hosmer looks back at the start of his major league career and sees Grifol who played a huge role in making Hosmer the hitter he became. After a rough second season in the majors in 2012 (.232 batting average, .663 OPS), Hosmer turned it around the next year when Grifol was called up from the minors in mid-May to become the team's assistant hitting coach along with Royals Hall of Famer George Brett.
"(Pedro) helped me tremendously," Hosmer explained. "From the first day he got hired we just got to work right from there. It's extremely hard to make adjustments during the season, but he just had a good way, a calm presence about him, and a confidence that we were going to make the adjustments we needed to. He and George were the perfect mix. Mentally they got everybody extremely confident. They gave us a plan on what we wanted to do."
Hosmer went on to hit .302/.353/.448/.801 in 2013.
"Pedro was kind of the mad scientist behind it all."
But Grifol wasn't someone stuck in the lab unable to convey his big ideas. Hosmer says that one of his biggest strengths is communicating with the players. In those early days in Kansas City, this played a pivotal role when the game was undergoing massive change behind the scenes.
"(Pedro) was one of the first guys that when analytics really started coming to baseball he was one of those guys who was really good at translating the analytic part to the players and how to give the message to each guy differently," Hosmer said. "Pedro helped me a lot in 2013, not only with hitting, but the mental side of the game and life and everything it throws at you."
So when Hosmer heard the news that Grifol got the managing job with the White Sox, his first call was to his former Royals teammate Chris Getz, now the White Sox assistant general manager and director of player development.
"I reached out to Getzy and thought it was a great hire," Hosmer said.
His next phone call was to the man himself, Grifol, who after spending over two decades working in just about every coaching capacity there is in baseball, finally reached the mountain top, getting his dream job, becoming a major league manager.
"I'm extremely happy for him. He's someone I've really admired in the game and I think he's certainly earned his stripes to become a manager in the big leagues.
"I know there was a point in time when he took over with the catching in Kansas City when Ned (Yost) was going to retire Salvy (Perez) made it a point that he needed Pedro there and wanted him there as long as he was with the Royals. He can do the offensive side, he can do the defensive side. Everything that's been thrown at him, he's done a really good job.
"I sent him a message congratulating him, saying it was long overdue."
The offseason is just getting started. There are many months and many moves still to come before Opening Day. But the first move was a big one for the White Sox. Hiring their manager. If Hosmer has it right, they're well on their way to becoming a force next season.
"I think (hiring Grifol) is going to be a real regroup for those guys and a fresh face for them to do what they got to do in the Central."
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