In a whirlwind morning the Chicago White Sox announced that Rick Renteria is out as the manager of the ballclub after four seasons, but there was a lot of information to unpack from General Manager Rick Hahn’s hour-long season-ending media availability this morning. Here are my top takeaways.
Rick Renteria is out after four seasons as White Sox skipper
Obviously the biggest bit of information from Monday’s news is that the White Sox have “mutually parted ways,” with Rick Renteria.
Renteria was hired after the 2016 season and has steered the White Sox through the dark days of their rebuilding process for much of his tenure as the skipper of the Pale Hose, but ended his tenure with a playoff appearance in his final season at the helm.
While many like to point to Game 3 of the Wild Card series as the downfall of Renteria, I personally feel like the awful late season tailspin, and more specifically the horrid four-game sweep in Cleveland that cost the White Sox the American League Central, was in fact the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Renteria made a plethora of questionable decisions with his pitching staff in that series that directly impacted the outcome of the games, ultimately causing the White Sox fall from the top-seed in the American League playoff race to the seventh seed at season’s end.
Rick Hahn refused to go into any sort of detail regarding the conversations internally that led to this decision, but did note that the ending to the 2020 season was highly disappointing for everyone involved.
“We were all disappointed with the way the season ended, it was a solemn flight home from Oakland.”
Don Cooper is out after 18 seasons as White Sox pitching coach
Along with Renteria on the outs is long-time pitching coach Don Cooper, who served in that capacity for 18 seasons.
Look, Don Cooper has his fingerprints all over the 2005 World Series Championship team’s pitching staff, but he’s not done a whole lot since. The game of baseball has changed immensely, and Cooper’s teachings have reached their expiration date.
I’m just happy that the organization didn’t attempt to force one of “their guys” on whoever becomes the new manager, a deviation from their past operating philosophies — to say the least.
What will the search for the next manager look like?
Rick Hahn refused to go too deep into any one area in regards to what their managerial search will look like, citing the organization doesn’t want to show their hand during the process. He did, however, offer up some telling clues throughout the course of the Zoom press conference:
- Hahn indicated that they’ll be looking for someone with “recent October experience.”
- While previous managerial experience is a plus, it’s not going to be a prerequisite.
- It will not be Ozzie Guillen.
- As far as timeline is concerned, we might see this stretch out beyond the conclusion of the World Series, as a potential candidate(s) may still be employed with a current playoff team.
- The next manager will, “more than likely be someone from the outside.”
- Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for a potential candidate, but will be factored into how they end up filling out the remaining coaching positions after the managerial hire.
From that, I think we might be able to create a fairly accurate list of potential candidates that starts — and may very well end — with former Houston Astros skipper, A.J. Hinch. However, I’ll delve into that later.
James McCann’s return seems even less likely now
Hahn didn’t rule out the idea of a James McCann return in 2021, but he did make it seem like an awkward fit for the White Sox moving forward.
Hahn touched on the fact that while he liked the way the Yasmani Grandal/James McCann platoon worked out in 2020, he credited that to the shortened season, and noted that the bulk of the first base and DH at-bats will go to Jose Abreu and Andrew Vaughn for the foreseeable future, eliminating the main tool they had to keep both Grandal and McCann in the lineup at the same time this season.
Rick Hahn shared a bevy of injury updates on some key players moving forward:
- Nick Madrigal underwent surgery to repair the effects of his separated shoulder this past Tuesday. The recovery time for that surgery could put Madrigal on a rehab plan to open Spring Training in 2021, assuming that Spring Training opens during its planned window.
- Garrett Crochet is dealing with a flexor strain in his left forearm, but he has no UCL damage, and will likely be a full-go by Spring Training.
- Eloy Jimenez is still dealing with a foot sprain suffered in the final week of the season, and rest will be the remedy for that injury. Should be a full-go by Spring Training.
- Jimmy Lambert is also dealing with a flexor strain, one believed to be more serious than Garrett Crochet’s. Lambert will be reevaluated and begin a throwing program, “after a few weeks.”
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