By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — With reports circulating Wednesday afternoon that called into question White Sox managaer Robin Ventura’s future, he got out in front of the rumor mill.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Wednesday afternoon that the White Sox plan to retain Ventura after his five-year deal ends at the end of this season, now in its final week. Speaking prior to his team’s contest with the Rays, Ventura addressed the news of the day at U.S. Cellular Field.
“Like I said all year long,” Ventura said. “I am waiting until the end of the year.”
No contract has been offered yet to Ventura, as Nightengale first reported. The White Sox are in the final week of their 2016 season, which will be the team’s fourth consecutive losing year with one more loss. Answers to Ventura’s future could come officially Monday, staying with the manager’s word to avoid distractions.
Reports to Ventura’s future beyond 2016 are mute if he wants out. Then, the White Sox will be forced to find their 40th manager in franchise history.
“I always felt — and especially this year — I would wait until the end of the year,” Ventura said. “I don’t know what they (want), but for me, I know I am waiting until the end of the year.”
My guess is that after five years in the dugout, Ventura may want to do something else in the game. He’s a talented guy with a fertile mind. A former star third baseman, Ventura probably would be a great scout or player development man, if that is what he chooses to do.
Remember that the White Sox front office came up with the idea to hire Ventura unsolicited. In October 2011, executive Kenny Williams and team consultant Dennis Gilbert both had him on a short list they presented to chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
Ventura came to the White Sox in a change of leadership after Ozzie Guillen parted ways and joined the new-look Miami Marlins. Now, it’s Ventura’s future in question.
“I am waiting until the end of the season,” Ventura said. “Rick and I always have discussions, but I am waiting until the end of the year.”
The only winning season Ventura has had in his White Sox managial career came during his first season in 2012, a 85-77 campaign.
That White Sox team was in first place 117 days before the club was overtaken by the TIgers with 10 days left in the season. Ever since, they haven’t come close to the postseason.
“I enjoyed the job,” Ventura said, playing his cards tight. “It does become a problem for the guys inside. It is a distraction, and I want them to enjoy the last few days of the season. There are guys going for (numbers) and I want the attention on that.”
A two-team All-Star third baseman, Ventura was a popular player. He played with the White Sox from 1989 through 1998, winning five Gold Glove awards in Chicago.
Ventura’s popularity with the White Sox fan base has certainly faded during five years without the postseason. That will serve as just one more factor as Ventura mulls his future.
“That is part of the gig,” he said. “I want them to understand it pains me when we don’t win. I am not going to be able to explain it the way they may want me to every single time. Yeah, it becomes painful when you don’t win. Every team has its challenges, and this one is no different. This has been quite a ride this year.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.