Can the White Sox resist extending Rick Renteria?

We'll find out at SoxFest, but Joe Girardi hovers as a big-name possibility

Because the White Sox don’t hire and fire managers like a normal organization, it’s easy to forget about contract years. The Sox themselves wouldn’t even give the length of Rick Renteria’s deal when he signed on to replace Robin Ventura. Jon Heyman was the one who fleshed it out at three years, which means the White Sox will theoretically have a decision to make before, during or after the 2019 season.

Credit the Sox for waiting until a second year this time. With Robin Ventura, they offered him an extension after his first season, which Ventura rebuffed. Maybe Renteria also shot down an extension after the height of “Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit,” but that doesn’t strike me as likely considering he has first-hand knowledge about the limits of loyalty.

Whether Renteria manages in 2019 without a new deal will have to wait until SoxFest, because that’s where the Sox extended both Ventura and Ozzie Guillen. A big developmental step back should give the Sox pause about their next move, but that didn’t stop them with Ventura after going from 85 to 63 wins.

Another thing that could complicate the picture: Joe Girardi’s wandering eyes.

“Chicago” theoretically opens the possibility of both clubs, although the ties to the Cubs are obvious. Girardi got his start with the Cubs as a player, and he was supposedly high on Theo Epstein’s list is 2013, when Girardi’s fate with the Yankees was unclear. Girardi ended up signing a four-year extension to stay in New York, and the Cubs had to wait a year for a marquee manager, yoinking Joe Maddon away from the Rays. In between, Renteria worked one year for the Cubs, but got paid for three.

Girardi is one of the few managers out there with a track record that can match Maddon’s, so if the relationship on the North Side continues to fracture due to frustration, Girardi can step in with no loss in gravitas.

But if “Chicago” — not just “Cubs” — is truly the approach Girardi is taking with his wish list, he’ll be a fascinating presence on the market over the next season. He was born and raised in Peoria and played college ball at Northwestern, so I can see the combination of geography, a promising situation and loyalty making the White Sox attractive enough. And as long as the White Sox job looks like a decent one, I can see it being used as leverage to pressure Epstein into being more aggressive.

That could only go so far, because a Jerry Reinsdorf team isn’t likely to get into a bidding war over a manager. That said, watching Terry Francona post winning season after winning season and capture pennant after pennant in the AL Central should make the Sox reconsider their stance on paying for the guy they want. Francona was unemployed when the Sox were conducting the “process” that resulted in Ventura.

Girardi isn’t as warm and amiable as Francona, but his track record is damned good, especially with a bunch of expensive, old and injured Yankees teams. He supposedly didn’t connect with young players, but the “Baby Bombers” took flight under his watch, and I can’t find any counterexamples of rookies that Girardi meddled with or blocked. If I had to guess, I’d imagine that’s Brian Cashman played up Girardi’s impersonal nature to paper over a more ordinary kind of disintegrating personal relationship.

(For what it’s worth, when thinking about Girardi with young players, I think of him fighting back tears down the right field line at Guaranteed Rate Field after Dustin Fowler busted his knee on the sidewall in the first inning of his MLB debut.)

If the Sox extend Renteria during SoxFest, then it’s pretty much case closed. But then I’ll be watching to see how receptive fans are to the idea. Renteria received a hero’s welcome at SoxFest this past January, but a year of accelerated bunting, random benchings and an overall product that felt every bit as bad as its 100 losses took a lot of the shine off him. The 2019-20 offseason will be a crucial one for the rebuild, and a healthy, thorough evaluation of managerial needs should be a big part of it.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Hold off. 


I thought I’d like Ricky more than I have. Too many bad to blah in game moves and other than Anderson, not a ton of progress with the few young guys that were up this year. Thus, I’d be cool with Girardi.

BUT, I think the hardest thing for fans to judge with managers is how they handle clubhouse, which frankly, is their more important job. It seems like the guys like Ricky and his ability to communicate in everyone’s first language seems like a plus.

ALSO, I think Girardi going to be the manger on the North Side of Chicago in a few weeks because everything points to Maddon not being offered an extension and I’d be shocked if the Cubs let him manage their club as a dead man walking.

lil jimmy

Interesting take Otter. I will stay tuned.


The fact he was involved with the Rangers and then suddenly withdrew does suggest something may have happened to trigger the change. Also, sounded to me like the words “he’s waiting a year on Chicago” referred to a specific team (Cubs).


But if you really want to delude yourself, the Sox also don’t have a manager under contract past this next season.

Trooper Galactus

Was it the Rangers or the Reds (or both)?


I’d be happily stunned if the sox let renteria go and hire a high end manager


Ricky’s cluelessness as a manager will not help the Sox return to respectability this year. Like Otter, I really thought I’d like Ricky a lot more than I have. His overuse of bunting, the random benchings, his misuse of the bullpen are among the obvious faults he has. It just doesn’t seem like anyone is improving under his watch. Anything short of .500 this year should mean a new manager for next year.

Eagle Bones

Let’s be honest, Heyman probably forgot there are two teams in Chicago when we tweeted that. Seriously though, I’m pretty much in line with Otter. I like the idea of employing someone who can bridge that language/culture gap in this day and age with so many Hispanic players, but not at the expense of the tactical portion of the role. Hoping they let him play out this year and see how it goes before making a move.


my sentiments in line with you … Ricky deserves one more year o prove himself.

Trooper Galactus

I’d agree with this in the interests of fairness, but old school baseball thinkers have proven stubbornly resistant to new lines of thinking. I don’t see Ricky suddenly learning to embrace analytics or turn into a strategic dynamo; he’s been a manager for three seasons and THIS is the product of that experience thus far.

As Cirensica

Not a big fan of Joe Girardi, however: Girardi >>>>>>>> Renteria. It would be nice to have a manager with a proving record…a winning record.


Let’s not forget Renteria was in the top half of managers this year in Successful Replay Challenge Percentage with 51.3% success rate. Those over turned calls added up to .85 WPA.

As Cirensica

I wouldn’t give the manager the whole credit here. They generally “consult” to someone whether or not to challenge a play.

Patrick Nolan

Yeah, this seems like more of a function of how often blatantly incorrect calls went against a team.

As Cirensica

A good point too. The success rate depends on the number of plays that were incorrect and unfavorable to the White Sox. The sample might not be big enough. Also, if a manager screwed up the first one, he can’t challenge again in the rest of the game (supposedly). So, there is a lot of factors here that can skew the data towards a result that does not align well with the conclusion discerned.

Trooper Galactus

Imagine what that number would look like if he could challenge strike 3 calls looking on Moncada.


Girardi doesn’t check all the boxes. 

Renteria does. Cheap. 

Eagle Bones

The real question is, how is Girardi’s ceviche?


Don’t forget that Terry Francona WAS with the Sox as a minor league manager. In 1992 at South Bend (A) w/l pct .533, 1993-4-5 at Birmingham (AA) w/l pcts .549, .468, .556 – then left for Phillies org. That same year, W Sox fired Lamont and hired Bevington, I think. Don’t know why Francona wasn’t in plans. Anybody know the story there?
As for future, I’ve thought it should be Girardi for a while now, but my nose tells me Omar Vizquel is being groomed.

Eagle Bones

Not that I’m rooting for it, but it would be kind of hilarious/entertaining to see him implement the green light always on policy he had at WS for at least the first part of this year.


Vizquel in 1st season as mgr at Winston-Salem (A+)
84 – 54 .609


Did some research. Francona left W Sox to coach for Tigers under his family’s pal, Buddy Bell. Coached 3rd base for 1 yr and then got Phila’s mgr job. Don’t know why White Sox groomed him, but didn’t promote him……Schueler ?
Hindsight 20/20: Francona’s managerial resume vs Bevington’s…
And as you say, Jim, vs. Ventura also…