By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) New White Sox manager Rick Renteria is fine. In fact, he’s almost the perfect individual embodiment of fine for an organization finding itself needing a new and better way of doing business. He’s probably a replacement-level manager, and they aren’t good enough yet for that to be much of a concern.
General manager Rick Hahn tipped his hand at Monday’s press conference, noting this year’s weak free-agent market and admitting that their commitment to repeatedly cobbling together a makeshift contender “hasn’t worked.”
“We have to be cognizant of that,” Hahn said. “Something needs to change.”
Something did when amateur scouting director Doug Laumann was ousted in favor of Nick Hostetler in August 2015 and much more will have to improve now in that arm of the business. Hahn knows that sustained success only comes from drafting and development, particularly of position players. The White Sox have been bad at that for too long, and it’s the primary reason for being “mired in mediocrity,” as Hahn described.
If there’s indeed a long-needed refocusing on proper baseball business, the future is in the hands of the scouts and data analysts at every level. Trading veterans could accelerate the process, but then it’s on the pro scouts to determine the targeted prospects for which Hahn is negotiating, knowing other teams’ minor-leaguers as well or better than they may. This is where getting better happens.
You don’t know their names like you do that of the manager, but the quality of their work will determine if Rick Hahn knows what he’s doing, if in fact he’s now free to do it.