Aug 31, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura (23) during the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago White Sox have the weapons and a pretty good supporting cast with all they’ve done this offseason, either via free agency or in making trades. We all can see the White Sox are in a “win now” mode for the foreseeable future.
Now … where does that leave manager Robin Ventura?
Entering what will be his fourth season as the skipper of the White Sox, he’ll finally have a team that should be competitive, or it is at least built that way. So if this team stays reasonably healthy, should this be a “make or break” season for Ventura?
"“We had to explain what the support system would be and what our expectation would be. I was very clear. I don’t expect him to be Tony La Russa on day one, but in our estimation, the fit is that it can come together and we will be better off down the line.”"
Well, the White Sox are now better off down the line, and it is time for them to show that on the field with their revamped roster and see what Ventura can do as a manager with a solid lineup for the first time in his managerial career.
Sep 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura (23) in the dugout against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
In his three seasons as the skipper of the White Sox, Ventura’s teams have records of 85-77, 63-99 and last season an overall record of 73-89. That’s an overall mark of 221-265, with zero postseason appearances and just one runner-up spot in the AL Central in ’12.
Ventura as a manager has had a tough road to travel. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not agreed with every decision that he’s made in this three years of leading the team, but we have to be honest with ourselves and realize the front office hasn’t given him the most to work with, either.
He’s never had a “complete” team, but this upcoming season I believe he’ll finally have that, so we’ll see what he can do with a team that actually has a bullpen he can rely on in the late innings of a game.
Last season, Ventura relied upon closers who just couldn’t get the job finished. There were flashes of good moments, but all in all, the White Sox blew 21 save opportunities, and Ventura had no choice but to bring out the pitchers he did last season.
With all of that said … there is still the matter of the original question asked: “Is this a make or break season for Ventura?”
If we are in the game of looking into the future, I think Ventura can and will manage this team to some success in ’15. He finally has that complete team (for the most part) and a bullpen/closer he can rely on in the late innings. Having players like Jake Petricka, Zach Duke and Javy Guerra to use before they even get to David Robertson when they are in the late innings of games is a luxury that will be new to Ventura.
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It will be up to him and pitching coach Don Cooper to get the right guy in the game during the right situation.
To answer my own question, yes, I believe with the White Sox being in a “win now” mode, this is a make or break season for Ventura, but I also believe he’ll make the most of this upcoming season with this White Sox team to help bring success for the franchise in ’15.
Give us your thoughts on the matter.