Podcast: Let’s Talk About Rick Renteria

Guest: Cody Stavenhagen, The Athletic Detroit

After an uninspired performance on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals losing both games of a doubleheader, the White Sox bounced back in a big way on Sunday. However, with an 11-11 record, White Sox fans are calling for Rick Renteria’s job. Is Renteria performing poorly? Or are fan’s anger misdirected to the real cause for the White Sox inconsistencies? 

What should help the White Sox is a four-game series against Detroit, which starts on Monday. The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen joins the show to provide insight on where the Tigers stand today after losing five straight games. 

In the end, we answer your questions in P.O. Sox. 

Free:

Ed Casey commented on your post.

After reading Jim’s article on Leury’s injury, pointing out the Sox complete lack of depth in their system on the left side of the infield, I was wondering if you think the Sox will look outside their org to add someone with more upside than Ryan Goins and Cheslor Cuthbert? If you do, who might be some plausible targets besides Yolmer Sanchez from San Francisco?

Andrew Segall commented on your post.

Is there a player in the organization who could make better use of Zach Collins’ roster spot? I don’t understand his purpose on the team.

Rob Leadaman commented on your post.

How exactly have the White Sox ended up with SO MANY hitters without plate discipline? Have there been other organizations that have taken notably bad plate discipline hitters and gotten progress?

Patreon Only Questions

MoSox commented on your post.

I listened with great interest to your interview with Chris Rongey about the Sox/Cards series — specifically, the truncated double headers. I would be interested to hear your thoughts about these shortened games. It seems to me that these games are very different in multiple ways from traditional games — forcing teams to rethink their line-ups, their pitching staffs, while requiring in-game decisions that potentially deplete rosters in ways that longer games might not. Do you think that these games should be factored differently in the end-of-year records? Should they be assigned some sort of weighted average, or perhaps some kind of handicap — to be more fair in the end of season playoff consideration? I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.

Alex Gaspar commented on your post.

I haven’t seen this brought up anywhere yet but I’ve wondered if you’ve been noticing Jason Benetti’s new home run call he’s been trying out this year; “Bring him home.” Personally, I’m a big fan but also because he seems to recognize that properly avoiding overuse is what enhances an already good home run call. Some good calls can become stock pretty quickly when broadcasters feel the need to force them in to every home run announcement. Jason seems to know the appropriate time to use it. I’ve wondered if you’ve not only noticed the call but if you’ve liked it, as well as his usage of the call and any other thoughts in general?

Mark Hope commented on your post.

Through a third of the 2020 season has your outlook on the efficacy of the rebuild changed at all?

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Shingos Cheeseburgers

I think you guys kinda nailed it in regards to the people calling for RR’s head. I think that the calls for firing Ricky are a psychological defence from having to deal with the fact that the rebuild might not work. After years of the organization telling fans ‘just wait until all the prospects are here!’ the prospects are pretty much all here and the Sox remain a fairly obviously mediocre team. Instead of accepting the fact the talent level on the team isn’t near that of other rebuilds (yet) it’s easier to blame the manager since he’s effectively disposable and replaceable.

I don’t like Renteria. The team seems to be sloppy at times. Unprepared. Lifeless despite of the talent. White Sox, in recent years, is among the bottom teams on infield shifting positioning (although not sure if that leads to more effective fielding). Those words Keuchel pronounced the other day, should be Renteria’s to say. Renteria’s handling of pitching does not seem great.

knoxfire30

The real question that matters to me is when this run is really suppose to be going lets say seasons 2021-2024 does sox ownership/front office have the balls to pursue a big time proven manager should Renteria not prove capable and obviously one comes available….. my guess is they absolutely do not and it terrifies me. We already watched them ridiculously make Ventura fire himself 4 years in which killed any chance they had to win with possibly the best pitcher in their history. I do believe Renteria to be a more legit MLB manager as compared to Ventura who wasnt, but is Rick top tier… is he even the upper middle? I dont think so… and that will matter one day.

metasox

Renteria may be viewed a little differently from Ventura (or Guillen) who were long-term org guys. Though sometimes what is seen as loyalty with this org may really just be inertia. I suspect a lot depends on how the players feel. Plus, Renteria is Latino / Spanish-speaking. And that may be considered important for this team

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Whoever it’s going to be will be somebody who is/was employed by the team at some point and hey would you look at that a former player and manager suddenly has a prominent role on the team owned TV network talking about how he would handle this roster.

Jim Margalus

After watching “The Last Dance,” I’m inclined to think Ozzie is a Scottie Pippen in this situation. Pippen signed an unwise extension that Reinsdorf advised him against signing, and once the ink dried, Reinsdorf didn’t let him off the hook. I can imagine Reinsdorf issuing a similar warning about leaving a lifetime appointment with the Sox for Jeffrey Loria of all people.

I think Ozzie’s around for the same way Pippen returned as an ambassador — he feels some obligation for the success they enjoyed, and I’m guessing he’s a net positive for the network. But I don’t think Reinsdorf will let Guillen remake that bed.

HallofFrank

The Tigers will have some extra talent on hand this week, as they just called up Mize and two other of their top six prospects.

Maybe it’s brought on by the necessities of a weird season, but it’s refreshing to see a team act like this.

Milky✌️

They’re going after the wrong Rick. If this team doesn’t succeed it ain’t because Renteria occasionally makes a pitching change that doesn’t work out.

Neat_on_the_rocks

You did not even mention the two worst decisions Renteria made over the weekend???? Am I missing something???

Mendick should never be allowed to attempt to steal with a runner on 3rd, one out, and Anderson in the mound. That is blatant incompetence. The homers obviously made this not “important”. But it’s a completely indefensible managerial decision.

Renteria should be fired for his handling of Ross Detweiler. He moved hoss to an every 5th day schedule but then both times so far decided to waste him in pointless innings, and used the likes of lail and burdi where Ross should have been in the game.

I don’t understand why you spent so much time debating moves that were obviously nuanced when these blatant failure are staring you in the face. For the most part I agree with what you said, the players are failing more than the manager.

But there are actual reasons to be upset that you ignored

Jim Margalus

I spent a lot of time talking about Detwiler.

Regarding the steal, I don’t know who to blame because the circumstances suggested somebody missed a sign. But because they hit four homers immediately afterward, it wasn’t brought up after the game.

karkovice squad

The best defense of Renteria is that the Twins have gone 2-4 against the Royals so far.

Your evaluations of Ricky do a decent job of trying to find the divide between legit and unfounded criticism. A big reason it’s tough to draw the line is because the organization’s opacity makes it difficult to assign responsibility for decisions. It’s a lot easier to look at reliever usage or batting order to hand out grades than it is for us to figure out whose job it is to move past Leury scouting opposing pitchers on YouTube, or Abreu buying tablets for rookies, or who’s supposed to come up with the adaptation for players not being allowed in the video room mid-game, and whether they’re doing it.

I do think Josh went too far in laying performance on the players, though. Yeah the players are supposed to be professionals and not need rah-rah motivation to take the field. They do still need the professional resources and coaching to be adequately prepared to do so. They’re also playing under difficult, unfamiliar circumstances and maybe need more or different support than usual.

Semi-related:
One of the things that’s been bugging me is how it seems like they’re just out of position on contact so much more often than their opponents. Statcast has them shifting about 30% of the time which is below the league median. The biggest gap is in how much less often they shift against lefties. They’re allowing more baserunners to reach on contact than average even though they’re both better than average at generating soft contact and converting the contact they can reach into outs. So it seems like maybe that’s actually hurting them even if they’re making up for some of it with double plays turned.

But who’s to blame? Couldn’t tell you.

Gutteridge70

Thanks for the balanced opinion on Renteria managing record in 2020 in light of the failures of the veteran ballplayers. Also thank-you for the undisguised disdain at the idea of Ozzie ever managing for the Sox again promoted by the unhinged twitter mob.