Rick Renteria’s familiarity with the White Sox allows him to “hit the ground running” when he moves from bench coach to manager in 2017.
Exactly which direction the Sox will be running to remains an ongoing mystery at 35th and Shields. Are they trying to contend around a quality core of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton? Will they trade the bulk of those All-Star caliber pieces in a significant rebuild which could add needed depth to an organization which has been saddled by an unproductive farm system? It’s the layers below the top 8-12 players on the roster which have arguably kept the Sox out of the postseason for eight straight seasons.
General manager Rick Hahn wouldn’t tip his hand.
“Once we start making our moves it’s going be evident what we’re about, what we’re trying to do and what our path is,’’ Hahn said.
Renteria is fine with either route.
“Whether it’s a veteran club or a young club, my job is to get the most out of whomever it is that we’re going to be presented with,’’ he said. “When you take a managing job, I can tell you that you try to do both, win and develop with younger players.’’
Hahn admits the organization has failed attempting a hybrid approach. The Sox have been stuck in the middle with a decent enough core and strong starting rotation to contend, but don’t have the payroll to muscle up and sign a big-bang free agent or two to perhaps push them over the top.
This year’s free agent class is weak, although there are a couple of catchers – Matt Wieters and the injured Wilson Ramos – out there at an almost desperate area of need. But that weak class, particularly in pitching, would make Sale and Quintana even more valuable in the trade market.
But there’s also this: Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, 80, wants to win and those close to him say he was peeved about this year’s performance. The Sox started 23-10 and finished 78-84.
“We absolutely underachieved,” Hahn said, and by that he meant the “entire organization” including himself, Ventura, the scouting department, players and beyond.
So something will change, starting this off-season.
“The level of disappointment we all share with the players makes it clear to all of us that we are not going to simply follow the same script and hope that changing the calendar is going to change the results,’’ Hahn said.