(CBS) A day after Robin Ventura announced he wouldn’t return after a five-year tenure, the White Sox on Monday introduced Rick Renteria as the 40th manager in franchise history but didn’t answer the question everyone remains most curious about.
What direction will they be taking this offseason after a fourth straight losing season?
“It’s one Ricky and all of us have already discussed internally,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “The goal is simple. The goal is to put us in a position to win multiple championships as quickly as possible. The exact path we’re going to follow over the next few months is not one we’re going to reveal today in terms of which direction, so to speak. Everything’s been discussed … over the course of the second half of the season, ranging from a more expansive and aggressive effort towards adding to this core to put ourselves in a position to win with this group quickly to the other extreme — is it time for a more drastic step back and focus more down the line and use our current assets to build ourselves up for the future? It may not be entirely satisfying on this day to not commit to one way or another, but there’s simply no strategic advantage to the club as we enter in and execute our plan this offseason to put a line in the sand today and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’
“Once we start making our moves, it’s going to be evident what we’re about, what we’re trying to do, what our path is.”
Listen: Renteria joins Jason Goff and Laurence Holmes
Whatever the course, the White Sox believe Renteria is the man to lead them. He’s now becomes the only Latino manager in the big leagues.
“We all feel very strongly that Ricky’s the right guy regardless of which direction we go,” Hahn said. “And by that I mean even if we go with the, say, full rebuild, take it to the extreme, Ricky’s background in player development and as a teacher is going to serve us extremely well as we go through that process. However, the end result of that process is a team that’s able to win a championship, so we feel he’s the right man whether that championship-caliber team is on the field in 2017 or something that’s built over a number of years leading up to that year.
“(Renteria) is well-respected throughout this game, has an incredibly high baseball IQ and a tireless work ethic, which everyone is aware of. He has the ability to communicate across a multi-cultural clubhouse and is already extremely well-respected within that room.”
The reason for the quick promotion of Renteria from bench coach to manager was because the White Sox felt they had the best candidate in house already, Hahn said. Renteria has one year of big league managing experience, leading the Cubs to a 73-89 mark in 2014. He was then fired by the Cubs to make room for the hiring of Joe Maddon. Renteria took 2015 off before returning as the White Sox bench coach in 2016.
“It was very clearly evident to us that we had the best candidate available in house already,” Hahn said. “I do understand and I have heard questions — it’s certainly something we talked about internally — why did we not throw this thing open to a larger search and go through a formal process?
“I will say there were really a few factors. First, we were pretty confident, very confident that as qualified of candidates as there may be out there in the game, we certainly weren’t going to find anyone we were going to feel any better about in terms of his leadership ability, his experience, his communication skills, work ethic, open-mindedness and creativity.
While acknowledging there may have been candidates just as qualified as Renteria, Hahn emphasized that, “None of them were going to be able to bring was the ability to seamlessly take over this position, to on Day 1 already have relationships with the players in that clubhouse.
“We knew when we had the right guy, there was no need to delay and push back the date that we’ve come to today.”
Renteria hinted at lighting more of a fire in the White Sox clubhouse.
“I’m hoping to bring in a little more intensity,” Renteria said.
Ventura and Hahn first discussed the idea of Ventura not returning a little more than a month ago, Hahn said. There were “personal reasons” for why Ventura chose not to return, Hahn said, declining to go into detail. After Ventura decided not to return, at no point did Hahn try to talk him out of the decision, Hahn confirmed. Hahn called Monday “bittersweet,” as he called Ventura a “good friend.”