White Sox will open 2017 with new manager for first time in six seasons. Will the change of managers help the White Sox contend?
For the first time, I am actually going to talk about the change from Robin Ventura to Rick Renteria as Chicago White Sox manager. While neither has ever had much talent to work with, there are some differences between the two. Most of it involves managerial IQ, which this article will discuss.
To show Robin Ventura’s managerial incompetence, when the White Sox were playing in Oakland (5/15/15) Ventura made a little league mistake. In the bottom of the eighth inning, he brought in Zach Duke with a left-handed hitter on deck (it was a pinch hitter). However Ventura committed one key error in making the pitching change. Here is what it was.
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When a batter has yet to be introduced, he isn’t in the game. Which is exactly what happened in this case. Due to this, current Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie (who was then an Athletic) was already in the game just stayed in anyways. Lawrie saw two pitches, singled to center but did not score. The Sox did win, Duke got the save however this is not acceptable from a major league manager.
Here is the big key when talking about the difference between Ventura and Renteria: experience. Renteria has coached and managed at both the minor and major league levels, not to mention he has taken part in international competition with Mexico. He has been coaching in pro ball since 1998, which is fourteen years longer than Ventura (Ventura started coaching in 2012).
There is something else that Renteria brings to the table as a manager, and that is the fact that he is bilingual. Since baseball is full of players that have Latin backgrounds, being able to speak their language is key. A manager needs to be able to communicate with his players, and if he can’t speak their language that becomes very difficult.
Just looking at them side-by-side, Renteria brings more positive attributes to the table than Ventura. When you look at experience, ability to communicate, not to mention actual managing skill, Renteria has Ventura beat in all three. Especially when the Sox best position player is Jose Abreu, who is from Cuba and when he needs to talk to his manager it would help if he could have in-depth conversation.
To wrap things up, Ventura wasn’t dealt a good hand, but neither was Renteria when he managed the Chicago Cubs. Sure, the Cubs are an elite ball club now but many of the players that Renteria managed are no longer with the North Siders. While I am not sure if Rick Renteria will ever lead the Sox back to the promise land, he is definitely a big upgrade over his predecessor. Which is something the Sox desperately need.