By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — With their season set to run its course and a playoff run looking remote, the attention will soon turn to next year for the Chicago White Sox.
The plan to get better by obtaining more controllable position players has been noted and approved going forward.
All of this preparation will likely go on without Robin Ventura, who’s wrapping up his fifth season as the White Sox manager. There has been zero indication about going forward with this relationship as it stands today.
What Ventura and his staff have done well is keep the players involved and focused on the task at hand each day. That in itself is a handful for a team out of the playoff race with 50-plus games remaining in the season.
Despite those positives about Ventura and his staff, the team is 67 games under .500 since the his successful first season in 2012, when the White Sox improved to 85-77 after going 79-83 in Ozzie Guillen’s final year. The team hasn’t played a meaningful game in the second half of any season since 2012.
All of the recent commentary by White Sox management about the entire 25-man roster being available in the right deals makes change appear imminent in other organizational areas.
While appearing as a guest on WSCR Radio’s “Inside the Clubhouse” on Saturday morning, general manager Rick Hahn was transparent about the organization’s willingness to make changes.
“We will address that after the season is over,” Hahn said of Ventura’s status. “Right now, we feel it’s important to have as few distractions as possible for the 25 guys and the coaches in the clubhouse. We believe they are still doing everything in their power to win each day’s ballgame.”
The relationship continues because the likable Ventura hasn’t ranted or raved about a contract for next season. Ventura’s always acted like a professional and has had zero meltdowns when something has gone wrong in his clubhouse, dugout or on the field.
“In Robin, we have a special guy who can focus on what matters daily,” Hahn emphatically said. “He is able to get to the core of his job, and put the other distractions out of his head. We had the same conversations a couple of years back, when he was in the last year of his deal that time. Even as a player, he played out the last year of his contract, and focused on the end of that particular season. He let the contractual stuff go until the end of the season, and that is our plan at this point.”
I asked Hahn if he expected a decision at the end of the year to be without any acrimony.
“I don’t want to presume how this thing end,” Hahn said. “I do think that our conversations over the last several years and several months have and will remain very open and very honest. A lot of that comes from Robin and and how he sees the situation, what he feels we need in the clubhouse.
“You are right, there is a tremendous amount of respect we are dealing with, not just Robin but with our coaching staff. They all get it, and understand we are not where we need to be. We will have candid conversations with them about getting where we need to be. So there is no worries about it not being amicable over the next several months.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.