White Sox

Rick Hahn: Regardless of direction, Rick Renteria is right fit for White Sox

Rick Hahn: Regardless of direction, Rick Renteria is right fit for White Sox

Whether they reload or rebuild, the White Sox think they have their man in Rick Renteria.

Renteria, named the 40th manager in club history on Monday morning, said he didn’t have any specific requirements about the team’s direction when he spoke to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn about the position.

Nearly 2 1/2 months after he said the White Sox were “mired in mediocrity” and needed to think about changing the way they operate, Hahn didn’t give any indications about which direction the White Sox are headed this offseason other than to say “we know what we want to do.” No matter which way they go, whether they attempt to add on to a strong core of players or sell off assets, Renteria said he’ll be prepared.

“The one thing I tried to stress to myself, to coaches, is, our job is to handle the players that we have,” Renteria said. “So whether it’s a veteran club or a young club, my job is to get the most out of whomever it is that we’re going to be presented with. When you take a managing job, I can tell you that you try to do both, win and develop with younger players. It might be a little tougher proposition because there are quite a few bumps in the road. But in either case you’re trying to end up at the same place.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Which direction the team heads this offseason has been a curiosity since Hahn’s comments made ahead of the July 31st nonwaiver trade deadline.

Frustrated by the second-longest postseason drought in the majors, a segment of the fan base hoped for a sell off and was disappointed when the club remained mostly intact on July 31 other than to trade reliever Zach Duke.

Hahn said Monday it does the White Sox no good to lay out their plan now even though the team is fairly certain which way it’s headed. But he also said it wouldn’t take much guesswork when the White Sox finally get going. Either way, the White Sox think they can win with Renteria whether its in the short term or the long run.

“Certainly with our first major transaction and the ones that follow behind, that will make it clear about which direction we intend to go,” Hahn said. “We all feel very strongly that Ricky is the right guy regardless of which direction we go. 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 is 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 were built over a number of years leading up to that year when eventually we’re ready to win again.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Meet the real Tim Anderson

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Meet the real Tim Anderson

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Tim Anderson opens up about his struggles in 2017 and why he wants White Sox fans "to know the real me."

Anderson dives into his personal tragedy from last season when his best friend was murdered in Alabama. 

He talks with Chuck Garfien about the dark days that happened, how counseling helped him, his new leadership role in 2018, if he'll draw more walks this season, "bringing swag to the South Side" with Yoan Moncada and much more.

Listen to the full White Sox Talk Podcast right here:

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

GLENDALE, AZ --  There’s a different Tim Anderson at White Sox spring training this year.

You can see it on his face  You can hear it in his voice.

“I’m busting out of the shell. I’m talking more,” he said as he sat down for an interview with NBC Sports Chicago (in the video above).

It’s not the new Tim Anderson. It turns out, it’s the real one that’s been there all along.

“This is me. It’s always been me. I never knew how to express myself. I feel like I’m being a lot more open,” Anderson explained. “That’s what I want to give to fans. Let them know the real me. You’re cheering for me. Why not know me? I’m being open and kind of let fans into my life.”

The White Sox shortstop has learned a lot about life in the past year. It all started in May when the White Sox were in Baltimore to play the Orioles. Anderson received a phone call at 4 a.m. It was news from back home.

It was the worst phone call of his life.

His best friend Branden Moss had been murdered in the parking lot of a Tuscaloosa, Ala., bar after helping the victim of a fight.  

The two were like brothers. Anderson is the godfather to Moss’s young daughter. Moss was the godfather to Anderson’s 2-year-old daughter.

“It was heartbreaking,” Anderson said.

While Anderson grieved, playing baseball seemed like it would be a perfect escape for his pain. Only it wasn’t. Far from it.  Baseball might have made things even worse.

In fast-paced sports like football and hockey, players don’t have much time to think. It’s react, react, react. Whatever might be happening off the field feels like a million miles away.

Not in baseball.

The game moves at a much slower speed. There’s plenty of time for your mind to wander. Thoughts kept going back to Anderson’s lost friend, taken from him in an instant.

At 23, he didn’t have the tools to deal with the emotional pain and excel at baseball at the same time.

“The year was rough. I wasn’t having fun in between the lines. I was making the game harder than it was. I was thinking too much. I was feeling sorry for myself and the list can go on. When my friend died it definitely took a lot out of me. I had a dark moment,” Anderson said. “Some days I didn’t feel comfortable coming to the ballpark because I knew it was going to be a bad day.”

Making matters worse, there were many nights when Anderson didn’t sleep. Not a wink. Still, he dragged himself to the ballpark and somehow tried to play.

The results weren’t pretty. On June 22, Anderson already had 16 errors at shortstop, most in the majors. At the plate, he was hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.

He knew he was better than that. He also knew something else: He needed help.

In July, Anderson started meeting with a therapist who was able to unlock the pent up thoughts and emotions that he was burying inside him.

The therapist would write down everything that Anderson was feeling on paper and then read it back to him.

“Just going in and talking and pouring everything out of you. It lets you hear what you’ve been going through,“ Anderson said. “When she did it, it was a lot. I took what she read to me, balled it up and threw it away. I got lighter. It was a brightening. Those counseling sessions definitely helped me.”

Soon, Anderson was back to being himself both on and off the field.

In the month of August, he had 8 doubles, 5 home runs and 16 RBI.

“Woof. I was hot,” he said after hearing those stats. “That’s Tim. That’s more Tim that we need to see.”

In September, he batted .327 with 3 home runs and 9 stolen bases.

“We need a lot of that this year. That’s the way I want to go. That’s the way I want to go about it. Get back to what got me here.”

There was still an issue with his plate discipline. He had 32 strikeouts and only 1 walk in September.

“We play a tough sport as it is. They’re going to come,” Anderson said about the walks. “I mean, when I walk more, what are you going to tell me? ‘Start swinging more?’ It’s one of those things. It’s a give and take. We’ll see what happens.”

In 2017, Anderson received a crash course in adversity. What did he learn from all that pain and misery?

“Tough times happen, but they don’t last forever.”

Now that he’s survived the personal storm from last season, he wants “another shot at it. I feel like last year went left. This is new season.”

So, what does he envision for himself in 2018?

“Having fun, smiling a lot, picking up my teammates, hugging on the coaches and players. A lot of love, more so than stats,” Anderson said. “I’m fired up. I’m excited. I feel like I’m ready to lead this pack. We got a great group of guys. We’ve got a chance to do something special.”