White Sox part ways with Rick Renteria

Either the White Sox standards for managerial performance have seismically shifted, or something worse is afoot.

One way or another, it resulted in the White Sox dismissing Rick Renteria.

“Agreed to part ways” is probably euphemistic for firing. Were it for a health reason or some other managerial choice, the language would probably be more along the lines of “decided to step down.”

It just seems so unlikely, because the White Sox haven’t conducted an open manager search since the hiring of Ozzie Guillen after the 2003 season. They’ve had opportunities in the past, but they hired Robin Ventura on a gut feeling with no other interviews after Guillen’s tenure deteriorated into “actively harmful,” and replaced Ventura by shifting Renteria from the bench coach position, but only after Ventura’s contract lapsed. By the method Renteria was hired, the White Sox were lucky to have somebody so qualified.

Rick Hahn is scheduled to talk to the media at 11 a.m. We’ll see what we’re at after that.

(Photo courtesy of the Chicago White Sox)

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
99 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
knoxfire30

Big time move, this is now the number 1 job in baseball and highly regarded managers are gonna line up for it. Go get one!

Elena

What is the chance that Super Joe McEwing gets the nod?

GrinnellSteve

What’s the chance it’s the Ozzeroo? Like the Sox bringing back Al Lopez?

As Cirensica

Oh God…no! Please.

GrinnellSteve

I’m not advocating. Merely wondering.

Papa Giorgio

Big mistake, in my opinion. I have 0 faith in the Sox leadership to find an amazing manager. I think someone like Renteria who is adequate but not great is as good as they’re going to get.

Hope they make me eat my words, but I’m really worried in 1 year we’re going to be saying “well Renteria was better than this guy, good lord.”

GrinnellSteve

So who are the available experienced managers?

asinwreck

Astros or non-Astros category? Buster Olney mentioned AJ Hinch and Alex Cora as candidates, and the latter certainly has family ties to the organization. Bruce Bochy mentioned he’d be interested in managing again after a year off. Sandy Alomar Jr. could be a candidate if Francona is well enough to manage again.

If the Sox hire Ned Yost, we need to do a wellness check on Hahn.

Elena

Bochy could be a very interesting pick. Certainly has the WS experience.

asinwreck

He’d have great press conferences. An interesting guy.

GoGoSoxFan

I vote for Alomar.

Milky✌️

Seeing the way Alomar handled Cleveland this year I’ll pass

HallofFrank

Nightingale says Hinch is a “strong candidate.”

Amar

Gotta think its the former, but we’ll hopefully find out soon enough

Brett R. Bobysud

Here’s my big question:

Will whoever they hire have the final decision on whether to retain Cooper or not?

If the answer is no, then I don’t have any faith in the upcoming hire.

evenyoudorn

I’m leaning “no”.

asinwreck

I put this on the PO Sox post, but it fits here. If this is what the front office is feeding Nightengale, the firing is a reaction to the events that took place after September 17.

The Chicago #WhiteSox loved Rick Renteria as a person, but it was his bullpen management down the stretch, and in Game 3 vs. the #Athletics, that prompted his firing as manager.

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 12, 2020

jorgefabregas

I assumed that much of his iconoclastic bullpen management was dictated by the front office. I wonder to what extent that’s true and they’re using him as a scapegoat. Also seems like he kept the players happy, so there are actually some shoes to fill by the next manager.

35Shields

This really doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

If you feel that there are much better options out there, fine. The Sox don’t have a great track record of identifying this talent, but who knows.

If you had certain expectations for how Renteria would progress as a manager and he just didn’t meet them (not sure what those expectations could have been tbh), fine.

If you’re firing him because Garrett Crochet got injured and Matt Foster forgot how to throw strikes for a day, man I just don’t know. Obviously the bullpen management didn’t work out in the playoffs, but Renteria deserves a lot of credit IMO for getting that bullpen to where it was. He entered the season with Colome and Bummer as the only reliable relievers, lost Bummer for most of the season, and still managed to fashion a pretty good bullpen out of a lot of unknown players.

jorgefabregas

Hahn denied that anything recent was the reason, fwiw.

burning-phoneix

I really feel that assessments of Renteria’s bullpen management were harsh. This was a Sox team that almost always guaranteed a win if they entered the 7th with even a slim lead despite having only a few decent relievers. He’s made some howlers (bringing in Rodon at any point) but overall the bullpen was always solid.

35Shields

Right? The bullpen was 8th in WAR, 6th in WPA and 5th in context-neutral WPA. When you consider how little the FO gave him to work with, those results say a lot about how well certain guys developed and how well Renteria figured out who he could use and how to use them.

I’m just floored because the bullpen this season was the kind of minor miracle that the Sox haven’t been lucky enough to have for years and people seem to have totally missed it.

gibby32

He was fine until it mattered.

texag10

A few comments in response:
You seem to imply that the guys that finished the season in our bullpen owe all of their success to Renteria but I can easily argue the reverse. These guys put in the work to become good pitchers and took advantage of an opportunity.

I also feel like Renteria deserves a lot more blame than he seems to be getting. He wasn’t great the entire season with his bullpen management, but game 3 was the epitome of that failing. His lineups all season were subpar. He left pitchers in (specifically Cease) too long and even though this team would have benefitted from it, could never grasp the concept of a true opener.

I don’t know that the manager will be better than Renteria but I do know Renteria isn’t good enough to keep in place with the team we have right now.

Foulkelore

I’m shocked that they did this. Please allay my fears about them just going back to Ozzie. This seems like a positive move to grab a potentially great manager instead of an ok one, but Ozzie is still lingering right there.

Yolmer

So is Kenny.

Brett R. Bobysud

As long as Kenny’s still in the front office, I don’t see any way Ozzie gets it unless Jerry puts his foot down and decides that’s who he wants.

asinwreck

Hahn: “Not an easy decision.” Reaffirms this was a “mutual decision” after months of “candid conversations.” Pushes back on Nightengale’s tweet that recent developments produced this outcome.

David

I disagree — it’s just a verbal gesture.

asinwreck

Yeah, I think he’s trying to be gracious in his public comments. The several days’ delay in scheduling Hahn’s end-of-season press conference indicates a lot of discussions took place after the season ended.

asinwreck

Merkin asks about criteria for a new manager. Hahn: “We’ve been somewhat insular over the years,” and it looks like there will be an actual search involving people from other organizations.

Ideal is a candidate with “recent experience with a championship organization.” That SCREAMS Cora or Hinch.

asinwreck

Bruce Levine follows up on that last line. Hahn: “Managerial experience is probably ideal, not essential.” “But ideally, having October managerial experience would be a plus.”

Hahn says having a command of modern analytics will be relevant.

asinwreck

Jessie Rogers asked point-blank if being suspended for the Astros scandal would disqualify a candidate. Hahn doesn’t respond to that but says Ozzie Guillen will not be a candidate for the job. Jerry directly called Ozzie this morning to tell him he wouldn’t be a candidate. Hahn will not talk about any other names in the process.

As Cirensica

I think this is a good move. Necessary. Like I have said here in the past, Renteria is an OK manager throughout a 162 games season with a good team. His mistakes will even out along the way. However, in short important series, like the playoffs, Renteria is not the right guy.

I am now so scared what Hahn will bring in.

Red Line Trane

In isolation, I can understand this move.

But given the context and the recent history of the White Sox — namely, first playoff appearance in 12 year, and it happened in a weird pandemic year — I can’t say I’m a huge fan.

It’s one thing for Theo Epstein to pull something like this, since he had multiple championship teams to his name. Rick Hahn has one playoff appearance, and zero in a season that was played in full.

We can definitely pick apart Renteria’s bullpen management, but from where I’m standing, the front office is just as much to blame. All the repeated failures came up down the stretch: the awful pro-scouting, the free agent duds, the failure to convert anyone from the farm into a useful contributor outside of the mega-prospects.

If Renteria is going to be subjected to this kind of nitpicking, then Hahn needs the same treatment.

Papa Giorgio

Well said

dwjm3

The front office didn’t force him to bring in Rodón In that Cleveland game. Also using 7 pitchers in four innings is egregious even with the Crochet injury. Renteria managed that game like his hair was on fire.

The reality is Renteria isn’t an elite coach. They may whiff on this hiring process but I rather see then try than just be content with mediocrity.

phillyd

Could it be that Hahn’s job is actually on the line too and he feels he can do better than Renteria as manager?

David

I think it will have to be a Latino, and as much as I find him entertaining I hope and pray it won’t be Guillen. He would compete with the players for attention. Likewise Cora, with the baggage he is carrying. Alomar is intriguing.

GoGoSoxFan

I agree on all counts. Alomar seems a natural to me.

Brett R. Bobysud

Hahn says Ozzie will not be the new manager.

Adds that Jerry called Ozzie personally to tell him as such.

Brett R. Bobysud

Scott Merkin reports Cooper is out as well.

asinwreck

Hahn: We have mutually agreed to part ways with Don Cooper.

asinwreck

…and the rest of the staff will be determined after the new manager is in place.

Hahn thanks Cooper for the contribution he has made to the Sox over the past three decades.

asinwreck

It sure sounds like handling the pitching staff has been a point of contention between the front office and Renteria/Cooper. Hahn mentioned the new pitching coach could come from outside, or within the organization. (Me: Could be Curt Hasler, Matt Zaleski, or Everett Teaford.)

I also wonder if Ethan Katz might be a candidate.

Brett R. Bobysud

Zaleski might be an inspired choice.

asinwreck

I suspect the in-house developments over the past couple of years will inform this hire. Zaleski would not surprise me.

Brett R. Bobysud

Maybe they figure he can help Cease unlock his potential, considering that Zaleski coached him in parts of all 3 of his years in the Sox minors.

As Cirensica

I am reading that Hahn’s intentions are to bring fresh minds. I am now expecting a new coaching staff in their early 40s

Elena

Rather than FROM the early ’40’s.

asinwreck

Hahn: Garrett Crochet has a flexor strain. Not ligament, so good news. (That’s his characterization; I am concerned about a flexor strain.)

Hahn: Nick Madrigal may still be rehabbing from shoulder separation surgery when spring training comes around.

Eloy’s foot “should be fine” in next couple of weeks.

On a James Fegan followup question, Hahn does not give an update on Jimmy Lambert.

Ceverettsdinosaurs

Told you guys there was no ligament damage and that he would resume throwing in a couple weeks. You can now crown me as the next wetbutt23.

asinwreck

You are now King Wetbutt XXIV.

35Shields

With a little more information, it’s encouraging that:
– Renteria wasn’t fired over playoff management
– New manager will have a free hand to decide personnel, including letting Coop go
– Ozzie is not being considered

dwjm3

I’m glad to see Cooper go as well. I suspected he played a role in that awful bullpen management down the stretch

Yolmer

Nah, Coop would’ve let Dunning pitch 7 innings. That’s why he’s gone — too old school.

asinwreck

On this winter’s shopping list, Hahn noted “we didn’t get the production out of RF or DH that we wanted,” and they’ll certainly look for more pitching.

asinwreck

Hahn: “We’re not quite sure” what Cease’s 2021 role will be. Notes Kopech has been away for two years, and Dunning is inexperienced. Hahn does mention Lambert as a possibility for 2021, sort of answering James’s question. Lambert has a “more significant forearm flexor issue than we’re dealing with with Crochet,” but he is expected to being throwing in a couple of weeks.

Very much leaves the door open to getting a veteran starter this winter.

asinwreck

In a question about pandemic-related budget issues, Hahn responds with uncertainty of baseball’s economic landscape for 2021. “We will have to wait and see how the market plays out.”

dwjm3

Yeah I read that as him wanting to sign a veteran starter

GoGoSoxFan

Are these moves an indication that Jerry is in win now mode? Is the next step JR opening the checkbook for the “final pieces”? I suspect the answer is yes.

asinwreck

Adam Hoge asks about Moncada’s COVID recovery.

Hahn: “The only part that is unknown is we haven’t seen anyone twelve months out from being infected.” Says Moncada’s EKGs, scans, vitamin levels have come back normal. He doesn’t seem to have physiological damage.

Notes the fatigue issue is real, and is a concern. “We are optimistic based on where he is,” but notes we don’t know whether this will affect him next year.

asinwreck

Hahn: “Objectively true that we’ve been insular with our past hiring practices.”

Interesting to see this line coming from inside the organization given how the Bulls finally broke with past practice in hiring a front office and coach this year.

GrinnellSteve

Could the Coop move signal a strong bid to acquire Bauer? One of his criteria is an organization with a forward-thinking approach to pitching.

Olssox

Bauer is just signing 1-year contracts, right? I have a feeling that’s not a White Sox path…

joewho112

I was thinking that sounded like something Jerry would love. He hates long term commitments. I think if you gave Jerry the chose between one-year at $30+M or four-years at $100M, he’d go one-year everytime

roke1960

I agree 100%. Jerry hates long-term deals to pitchers. The Bauer situation is perfect for Jerry. He has so many players at low-cost rates this year that splurging big for Bauer fits right in.

burning-phoneix

I don’t see that as too bad. Sox hate giving long term deals to pitchers and a lot of our pitchers still need seasoning in the minors, Kopech hasn’t pitched in two years so he starts in AAA. Steiver was just in High A so put him in AA, Dunning and Cease still get shots and ReyLo goes to the Pen and see how he fairs.

Rotation will look like:

1.LucACE
2.Dallas
3.Bauer
4.Cease
5.Dunning

with Kopech, Lambert ,Reynaldo and annual innings eater FA signing as stop gaps in case of any injuries

asinwreck

Hahn notes DH and 1B at-bats will be for Abreu and Vaughn, but could see a way for McCann to return and “we’ll stay in touch.” (I think he’s simply praising McCann as he leaves in free agency.)

asinwreck

James Fegan asks if the coaching staff will shrink due to budget shortfalls. Hahn: “I don’t foresee that.”

Hahn thinks Andrew Vaughn can contribute most of next year, qualifying that because there was no minor-league season this year. “A remarkable hitter.”

asinwreck

Bruce Levine asks about Kopech. Hahn: “Zero mystery, we look forward to having Michael back at the start of spring training.” Kopech has been in touch with the minor-league pitching coaches on his regimen, and apparently, scouting talent for the organizqation as he asked them to sign a minor-league free agent.

They will have to manage his workload given the two years off, but no other concerns.

asinwreck

On Crochet, Hahn says his 2021 role is “TBD.” Long term, plan on having him as starter, notes the changeup looked good. Short-term, need to determine the best path for 2021, whether it’s multi-inning reliever in the majors, or in an affiliate’s rotation getting stretched out.

asinwreck

On the managerial search, Hahn says “I think more than likely it will be someone from the outside.” Sounds like McEwing is not a candidate.

“No timeline” for a decision. Has a list to vet, which will take time. Might need to wait to talk to some people who are still in the postseason.

I wonder if any Tampa Bay coaches are on that list?

Cheryl Raye Stout asks about Spanish proficiency. Hahn says that’s important certainly for the coaching staff without specifically mandating it for the manager. “Ability to connect with players” is important.

asinwreck

And that concludes the press conference. A lot of big news, and the Sox seem to be following the Bulls in pushing forward with outside hires. Maybe Jerry was so impressed by Karnišovas and Donovan that he was more open to similar changes on the baseball side? (Well, Hahn’s still in charge, but at least looking for outside voices in the dugout.)

MarketMaker

First thing I thought about. Wondering if having some legit org leaders was a wake-up call to what the expectations for GMs and coaches should be. The Bulls/Sox have been in a bubble so long I wouldn’t be surprised if they had no idea how far behind they were.

PopeDonnPall

I wonder about this element too. Early sentiment seems Sox fans prefer Hinch over Cora. Is Hinch bi-lingual? Honest question because that seemed to big positive having Ricky given how many players, and key players, primary language is Spanish.

I’m also trying wrap my head around the moral aspect. Which of these two do we think was less guilty in their respective cheating scandals?

PauliePaulie

I figured Cora wouldn’t be considered because he jumped ship with Ozzie and had some words for the org. on the way out the door.

asinwreck

Alex Cora, not Joey.

PauliePaulie

Huge brain cramp. Thanks.

texag10

My understanding is Cora was the ringleader and Hinch was just impotent to actually stop the cheating. Neither one of them sounds like a great option in that regard.

lil jimmy

The problem for Hinch was that the cheating was also condoned by management above him. He was the meat in a scumbag sandwich.

Ceverettsdinosaurs

FWIW, I’m hearing that Hinch is the favorite at the moment. Obviously can change.

ParisSox

I trust anything King Wetbutt XXIV says

HallofFrank

This is all a ruse. They want A. J. Hinch to try for a discount on Springer.

David

Because that strategy worked so well with Machado.

GoGoSoxFan

Who is Springer’s bro-in-law?

PauliePaulie

Great moves.
Bettter late than never.
Love the Bochy idea.

craigws

Feels like Coop going is actually the bigger news.
He’d had some failures over the last couple of years, but I will always be grateful to him for Easy Heat. Not to mention all the slop he turned into something cromulent, like Hector Santiago, Humber, Sergio Santos, Fixing/running into the ground Jesse Crain, Time Baby, the only semi-decent season on Hector Noesi’s sheet, taking the hollowed-out shell of Miggy Gonzalez and stuffing it with twine and springs.

I think it may have been Shields that finally broke his will.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

While I don’t entirely agree with it these moves more than any others gives me confidence the rebuild will be successful.

vanillablue

The interest in Hinch and Cora baffles me. Cora led the biggest cheating scandal in baseball in a century; Hinch knew about it, but couldn’t stand up to his own bench coach and players to stop it. The most charitable interpretation of the Astros saga is that Hinch was an impotent martinet for the front office. I don’t get why either of them would be serious candidates for any manager position.

Drdoctor

Maybe Joe Maddon is fed up with the Angels? 😉

HallofFrank

I can only think of two reasons for not hiring Hinch or Cora *because of* the cheating scandal. Either (a) as a kind of retributive punishment (e.g. “they are cheaters and we don’t want cheaters on our team”) or (b) for fear something similar might happen under their watch (e.g. “they cheated and if we hire them it could happen again).

For (a) — I suspect teams view Hinch & Cora like a player suspended for PEDs: he did something stupid, but got caught and did the time. I haven’t heard much resistance to the Sox pursuing Springer, who was at least as involved, if not more involved, than Hinch in the cheating. Hinch has also apologized, which is more than most of the Astros.

For (b) — the Sox have nothing to fear if the FO is serious about avoiding it. It was clear in the Astros case there was a systemic failure. The FO *at least* turned the other way, if not actively encouraged it. If the Sox are serious about avoiding it, then they should have no problem doing so.

mikeyb

c) Before cheating with the Astros, Hinch wasn’t a good manager in Arizona.

HallofFrank

That’s a fine reason, but notice I qualified it as reasons for not hiring either “*because of* the cheating scandal.” I’m sure there are other reasons not to hire each.

ParisSox

Nobody is saying it, but I’ll say it. I really hope they keep Menechino. Seemed like guys were well coached and took good approaches (mostly) throughout the year.

roke1960

When does Hinch’s suspension end? I’m guessing they already have a deal with him, but can’t announce it until his suspension ends. We have entered a new era in White Sox history. This move is just stunning compared to how they’ve operated in the last 15 years. If they embrace analytics, the sky is the limit for this team!

mikeyb

Robin Ventura got more games as the manager of the White Sox than Renteria did, despite the White Sox never making the playoffs with Ventura (and openly tanking with Renteria). There is nothing more important to this organization than being buddies with Jerry Reinsdorf.

Oddvark

It does feel like It’s going to be Hinch.

But if “managerial experience is not essential” and they want “recent experience with a championship organization”, could there be a bench coach from a recent world series team who would be ready to step up to become a manager? I’m too lazy to figure out who might fit that bill, but in theory, someone like that could meet the criteria that has been laid out.