By Bruce Levine–
MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) — White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and manager Rick Renteria are in lockstep regarding the direction of the rebuilding White Sox, but in their daily tasks, each must take a different approach.
Hahn always keeps the big picture and long-term goals in mind, while Renteria’s focus is on the task at hand — which is his team improving. As many players arrived in White Sox camp early and pitchers and catchers officially reported, both men were pleased with the attitudes and progress being displayed.
“There is a great deal of enthusiasm from these guys,” Hahn said. “This is a tribute to the players and a tribute to (Rick Renteria) and the staff. They have created a great environment around here. Guys like being here.”
Hahn continues to stress that a rebuild doesn’t occur overnight, and he reminds of how much work must be done going forward. As he does, Renteria turns his attention to developing the young talent that has been acquired.
Both Hahn and Renteria the situation well and have the same end goal: a championship.
“It is a rebuild,” Hahn said. “No one here has avoided that. We love the excitement that we see coming out of that clubhouse and from our fans as well. I know there have been various podcasts about whether we are ready to win. There have been articles written about is this team ready to compete for a wild card. We are not going to do anything to stifle that kind of excitement. At the same time, we are only one year into a rebuild. These things traditionally take longer than that. We are thrilled with the progress we have made the last 18 months. We know we still have a fair amount of work to go through this process.”
Renteria’s challenge is different and singularly focused.
“I am not going to talk about anything except winning,” Renteria said. “You cannot approach a new season in any professional sport without making the process what it is supposed to be. You must connect the talent with their ability to execute. I will not sell the players short. Again, we will shoot high and see where they fall from there. I will not lower the bar and be happy if we surpass that level. I am not that person. I want to shoot high.”
Renteria must sell wining in a room despite having an unproven group.
“You must balance things out,” he said. “You can have moments where you allow a player to do something as a part of his growth. Many times you would bring in a pinch-hitter or relief pitcher in certain situations (on a veteran club). We must let these guys experience getting over the struggles that will occur in development. Even if they don’ have success in the moment, we know how to build on the experience for him and make sure he gains from the opportunity.”
Hahn has been pleased every step of the way with Renteria’s approach.
“The enthusiasm is great,” Hahn said. “A lot of it comes from these players who believe they can surprise some people. That is the mentality that Ricky and the staff have helped to create. They fight all 27 outs. We want that not only in the early stages of the rebuild but when we are in a position to contend for a championship. We will always want that to be a part of the environment. The fact that Ricky and his staff have helped to create that is wonderful.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.