I wrote about how in order to get this team's attention and deliver a wake-up call, that Rick Hahn should meet the team in Detroit after another series loss to the Minnesota Twins. My logic was that if Ventura can't motivate this team to play better, that perhaps someone higher up in the organization can have a few words of encouragement. Followed up with a stern warning that if play doesn't improve, changes will be made and for some on the roster, would directly impact their employment status with the Chicago White Sox.
Silly me. Of course it wouldn't be Rick Hahn.
Kenny Williams decided to take the trip to get a look in-person on how the lack of offense and poor defensive play is hurting the Sox' chances of competing in 2015. He had plenty to say prior to the White Sox' loss Friday night, starting with Ventura's job status.
"With regards to Robin, listen, you only have so much control as a manager on your overall team play ... He will be the first to admit they haven't played [well] and they haven't followed the direction as much as he would have liked.
Both Williams and Hahn have stuck to the script of demonstrating full support for Ventura that is genuine. In light of Ryne Sandberg resigning as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Ventura was pressed by the media if he would consider resigning.
Hahn, Williams, and Ventura are still committed to the cause. Great, but that doesn't really answer why the team has been underachieving, or what management is going to do about it. That's why I'm stuck on the last sentence from Williams while defending Ventura, "they haven't followed the direction as much as he would have liked."
The team's demise is not for a lack of effort on Ventura's part. It is curious on how Williams phrased it, as it does invited some questions about who on the roster is not following his lead. Of course, that would be guessing, and speculation will get us nowhere in the quest of learning what is going to be done in order for this team to play better baseball.
So, who is at fault?
"If they are underperforming to this degree as a whole, then I would have to say right now -- and I've told the chairman [Jerry Reinsdorf] this -- at the end of the day, it falls on my desk. I hired the manager. I hired the general manager."
While it is admirable that Williams wants to take all of the blame for the team's woes, it may open the possibility of him being more involved because he is taking responsibility, and that's something that I'm afraid of. I believe in Rick Hahn's plan and that, with time, this franchise will be better off for many years to compete in the AL Central. It requires patience to see this plan come to fruition.
Williams is not patient. One of his best, and his worst, trait as general manager was his ability to act on solving a problem. If the team had a need, fans knew Williams will go find a solution at whatever the cost. He stuck to the script when asked about if the team was ready to sell:
"I’ve addressed that with Jerry (Reinsdorf) directly, and his comment to me was, ‘Listen, I thought we were in a pretty darn good position when we left the winter meetings,’" Williams said. "We felt good where we are, but we felt good about where we are for 2015, ’16 and ’17. So we’re not going to abandon ship right now because of three months in what is a three-year plan."
What happens to this said plan when Melky Cabrera's OPS hovers around .600? Or not having full-time solutions at second or third base? Or when Alexei Ramirez's play is sinking? Or not knowing when or how to use Emilio Bonifacio? Are they still part of the three-year plan? If the White Sox are not abandoning ship, will the team be willing to cut the dead weight?
Recently, the answer was a resounding "yes," but in 2013 and 2014, Hahn severed ties with Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham, and Adam Dunn in August, not July, and with very little in return. Chicago can't afford those types of moves if the team is seriously considering to contend in '16 and '17.
Perhaps the White Sox could follow the path of KenWo. Instead of cutting dead weight, they simply add on by acquiring the likes of Todd Frazier. Fans know very well that Williams wouldn't hesitate to move young prospects to add a piece that can help win today. Making that type of move, though, would suggest that management still has hope for 2015.
"You can imagine going on that kind of a run, and we do have the pieces," Williams said, mentioning the starting pitching in particular. "Certainly right now, if I'm being honest, I don't see any indication of that, but you never know what's going to click at a given time and you go on a roll.
Back-handed optimism at its finest. If Kenny Williams doesn't see this team turning around its fortunes, why should fans?
This is why Rick Hahn should be doing the talking.