(CBS) The clock has struck midnight on Robin Ventura’s tenure as manager of the White Sox, who are promoting a familiar face to take his place.
After yet another disappointing season, Ventura won’t return to the White Sox, who are expected to promote bench coach Rick Renteria to manager, the Sun-Times reported Saturday night. The team has called an 11 a.m. press conference Monday in which general manager Rick Hahn will speak.
The fifth and final year of Ventura’s contract is set to expire at season’s end, which comes Sunday as the White Sox (78-82) wrap up their fourth consecutive losing season. Entering Saturday’s penultimate game, his White Sox teams are 375-433 (.464) in his five seasons as manager, failing to ever make the playoffs.
The promotion marks the 54-year-old Renteria’s second opportunity to manage in Chicago. He was the Cubs’ manager in 2014, leading them to a 73-89 mark before he was unceremoniously fired to make room for Joe Maddon. Cubs management praised Renteria for his professionalism and work with young players while showing him the door.
Renteria sat out the 2015 season before returning as the White Sox bench coach in 2016. One of the traits Hahn lauded in Renteria upon hiring was his ability to communicate well with Spanish-speaking players.
Ventura, 49, had been under intense scrutiny for the past two seasons. As Chicago went 76-86 in 2015 and was at .500 for only three days after making a big offseason splash in free agency and followed that up with another losing campaign this season, many questioned the stoic Ventura’s ability to light a fire in the team and connect with his players. The outset of the 2016 campaign brought the Adam LaRoche controversy, in which executive Kenny Williams asked that the time 14-year-old Drake LaRoche spent in the team’s clubhouse be severely dialed back. Adam LaRoche then abruptly retired, creating a saga that was a hot-button debate not just in the sports world but on national morning shows as well.
Through all that, Ventura helped keep a fractured clubhouse together and led Chicago to a 23-10 start to the season, but the White Sox spiraled downward from that point on, finishing in fourth place in the AL Central while problems of years past returned. Ventura regularly took criticism for his affinity for bunting and his handling of the bullpen.
As the free fall continued, White Sox players publicly supported Ventura, saying the fault was at their feet. Little changed, though.
Ventura was hired as the franchise’s 39th manager in early October 2011, after former manager Ozzie Guillen had a falling out with management. The move was a surprise, as Ventura had no previous managing experience and admitted he was initially apprehensive about taking the job before further discussions with Williams.
The White Sox’s best season under Ventura was his first, as they went 85-77 in 2012 and spent 117 days in first place before fading late and finishing second in the division. They lost 99 games in 2013 and 89 games in 2014.