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Sandy Alomar articulates awkwardness of White Sox bench coach search

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Cleveland first-base coach removes himself from consideration out of respect for Robin Ventura's precarious position

Ventura and Alomar in 1990.
Ventura and Alomar in 1990.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Sandy Alomar appeared to be the perfect bench coach for the Chicago White Sox, so it came as a surprise that his candidacy was the first of the rumored names to be crossed off the list.

But the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports the reason itself will not surprise you:

"I didn't want it to seem like I was coming in to replace Robin in case they stumbled out of the gate," said Alomar. "I like and respect Robin too much for that."

Maybe the White Sox would not turn to Alomar if they decide to replace Ventura, but Alomar seems destined to eventually manage a team. Alomar said there was some speculation in the Chicago media that Alomar could take over for Ventura at some point.

"I want no hidden agendas," he said. "I'm also very happy with Cleveland. I didn't want anything to be unfair to Robin."

This is the situation I was envisioning when the White Sox announced the firing of Mark Parent, followed by the decision to retain Robin Ventura. I imagined it from Ventura's perspective:

That could get tangled in a hurry. For instance, if the Sox hire a qualified candidate known to fans -- on Twitter, Larry came up with the idea of Jose Valentin -- the loud voices, be they fans or writers or talkers, are going to wield that name on Ventura like a mace if 2016 resembles 2015 (which resembled 2014, which was only marginally better than 2013, hence this problem).

Replacing the bench coach under a manager in the last year of his contract stands to exacerbate the lame-duck status. That's something you might see with a new GM who inherited a manager with whom he's not particularly enamored. The Sox like Ventura, which makes this a strange way of showing it.

And now here's Alomar remarking on the dilemma from the potential coach's side. It's somewhat presumptive on his part since the process hadn't yet reached the interview stage, and it's not like the White Sox are trying to be devious, but the circumstances surrounding the situation make that conclusion very easy to draw. Hopefully they'll be able to hire the coach they want, but on the surface, the natural forces push them towards a coach 1) without managerial aspirations, or 2) without as much regard for Ventura. Neither seems optimal.

Star-divide

But hey, the White Sox' hiring problems pale in comparison to whatever the Washington Nationals are doing.

Up until Monday night, it looked like a straightforward affair, as multiple reports had the Nationals replacing the disastrous Matt Williams with the steady, experienced Bud Black. There was really no reason to question it -- the Nationals just need a manager who won't kneecap his own team, and while Black didn't get to the postseason in his eight-plus years with the Padres, he was well-regarded for the way he kept the Padres respectable despite a ton of turmoil above him.

Dusty Baker became the front-runner for the Nats job. The rumored terms have fluctuated enough to cast some doubt on the integrity of the details, but both national reporters and Washington media guys have agreed that there was a laughable low-balling:

Baker, who interviewed twice for the Nationals opening, was informed last week that he did not get the job. The job was offered to Black on Wednesday by Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, which he accepted, and negotiations began on Thursday. They never came close to reaching a deal.

The Nationals, according to a person with knowledge of the talks, originally offered Black a one-year deal for $1.6 million, and refused to guarantee more than two years. Black informed the Nationals’ ownership several days ago that he couldn’t accept a deal, which is considerably lower than he anticipated.

That seems like it can't possibly be true. Three-year contracts are usually standard for this kind of upgrade hiring, but I could fathom Washington starting at two years and being difficult to budge. That, too, risks sending contradictory messages about the faith placed in their decision, but at least it's a multiple-year commitment. Opening with a one-year offer requires an abundance of balls or an absence of awareness.

It looks especially ridiculous after Don Mattingly more or less received the Ozzie Guillen deal from the Marlins -- four years, "about" $10 million. The Marlins have a reputation for paying non-players well, which is why non-players keep choosing to work there.

At any rate, Baker is officially the manager of the Washington Nationals on a two-year deal, and Washington Post reporter Adam Kilgore says the Nationals are "lucky" that Baker wasn't scared off by the way the events unfolded for the guy who seemed like their first choice.