Since Rick Hahn is addressing the media about the season on Monday, I feel like I can wait before arriving to sweeping conclusions about the widely reported transition to Rick Renteria.
In the meantime, these three thoughts are fighting it out:
No. 1: Had Renteria not been party to the the White Sox’ fourth consecutive losing season, he’d be a perfectly cromulent candidate. He has experience in various capacities, he’s bilingual, and while the Cubs fired him after one seasonin order to snare Joe Maddon from Tampa Bay, he accomplished what he’d needed to during a developmental year for that franchise. He’s been deserving of an honest shot, which is way more than can be said about the last time the Sox hired a manager.
No. 2: That said, I don’t understand why the White Sox wouldn’t have cast a wider net this time. A thorough search might have led the Sox right back to Renteria, and it’s probably OK to go with a gut instinct once in a while, but it’s probably not good to go with it twice in a row when instincts failed the first time. If nothing else, doesn’t it makes sense to conduct a legit search every six years or so just to familiarize yourself with who’s available and where they (and their current/former teams) are coming from?
No. 3: The White Sox hired Renteria as a bench coach for a lame duck, which was a situation that may have made other potential future managers uncomfortable. At the very least, Sandy Alomar Jr. removed himself from consideration because he didn’t want to be seen as a vulture. If there’s any credence to this ...
I was told during the year that Renteria had too much respect for Ventura to replace him midseason. #WhiteSox— Brian Bilek (@BrianBilek_) October 1, 2016
... then Renteria have been wary of that perception himself.
Even if that’s the case, I’m skeptical the White Sox would have fired Ventura at any point in the season, because as the leak to USA Today showed, Jerry Reinsdorf hasn’t been able to make either/or decisions, at least on non-playing personnel. Buster Olney came to the same conclusion:
No matter what Reinsdorf decides, he needs to commit in a way he would not at the end of Ventura's tenure. He needs to take sides. He needs to offend somebody, and pick somebody willing to offend others to run his baseball operations, with difficult choices that need to be made. There are folks within the organization who would be greatly relieved if he did this.
They had ample reason to change managers after the 2015 season, not just because Ventura might’ve been inadequate for the task, but also because the lame-duck status did him even fewer favors. Instead, they stuck with him and tried to hire a bench coach who wouldn’t feel like an implement of destruction. Renteria was a good hire for a potentially limited process, but I’m not heartened by that potentially limited search for a bench coach resulting in the next White Sox manager with no further efforts to widen the scope.