I spent Wednesday in a hole. By early Thursday, I was out of the hole and catching up on the NEWS
When Chuck Garfien broke the news that Robin Ventura had rejected a one-year extension offer that was to be lopped onto his initial three-year contract, it was clear what the big, surprising element of the announcement was supposed to be. Ventura had done something counterintuitive as we understand it–managers and players typically try to stockpile years and financial commitment in anticipation of leaner times. For them to reject a freely offered extension typically reflects either a dissatisfaction with the offered price, or deep desire to change locations.
But if there’s a figure in the sport for whom this sort of story should raise little to no concern, or at least, no new analysis on how he feels about his current situation, it’s Ventura. Lest we forget, the guy famously had a reverse-job interview where his prospective boss talked him into a position a, and now he is unsurprisingly not completely comfortable with committing to managing in 2015 just yet.
“I’ll worry about it at the end of it. For them, I want them to think that in two years I’m still the right guy for the job. It wasn’t anything that was a big deal so I’m not holding out for anything or disappointed in not wanting to stay here. I think at the end of that, that’s when you talk about it. I’m not worried about trying to extend anything right now. I’m more worried with this team in this spring training than I’m worried about 2015.”
As Jim already pointed out at South Side Sox, the current White Sox situation facilitates Ventura’s aspirations to be above it all even more than usual. His relationship with the GM office is stable, and so is the current Hahn-Williams administration relationship with ownership, which is headed up by the famously loyal Jerry Reinsdorf. For a test case of the said ownership’s oft-bandied about loyalty, look no farther than Ozzie Guillen still managing to get his option picked up for the 2012 season despite mounting evidence of his creeping lethargy and discontent.
That option pick-up brings up another relevant item. A one-year extension doesn’t serve much purpose beyond avoiding a lame duck year–though apparently it can also be offered as a reward for a strong debut–and since Robin is still a season away from having to think about living in that manner, it’s not surprising that its appeal was not stronger than his uncertainty about the path of his still very young managing career.
If anything, this action should further encourage those that praised Ventura for his uncomplicated and genuine approach to his work that they’ve judged them rightly. And for those who would like to see him iron out some of the tactical oddities shown down the stretch of 2012 ironed out first before a larger commitment is made, this may feel like a dodged bullet.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan