White Sox

Robin Ventura steps down as White Sox manager

Robin Ventura steps down as White Sox manager

He doesn’t have any regrets, but Robin Ventura announced the end of his tenure as White Sox manager on Sunday afternoon.

Calling it a personal decision, Ventura stepped down as White Sox manager shortly after his team closed his fifth season with a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Ventura — who finished with a 375-435 record and finished below .500 in four straight seasons — said he thought the club might be in need of a new voice. The team is expected to name current bench coach Rick Renteria its new manager in a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m.

“I just feel it’s the right time,” Ventura said. “I love being here. The organization means a lot to me. You can go as hard as you can and really the only thing you know is how you conduct your business and how you treat people. I’m good with that. 

“Talking to (general manager Rick Hahn) through September, you just realize right now is the right time to do it and you need somebody else.”

Ventura’s final season as White Sox manager will likely be remembered for several high-profile incidents that took place within the clubhouse, namely the abrupt and public retirement of Adam LaRoche and Chris Sale’s five-game suspension for destruction of team property. While those incidents may have caused him some stress, Ventura said it was the team’s collapse after a 23-10 start that was the most difficult to deal with. Ravaged by key injuries, underperformance and a lack of depth to handle those issues, the White Sox fell apart in mid-May and never recovered.

“What's hardest is we started off so well, so you had the optimism that was there that you were going to keep that rolling and then it didn't continue,” Ventura said. “That's the hardest stuff. The other stuff, it just happens. There's probably stuff that happens all over the place that's like that. But that had nothing to do it with being tougher.”

Though he made the determination he wouldn’t return over the course of September, Ventura held off on an announcement until after the season concluded. Ventura said he wanted his players’ focus to remain on the field where it belonged and didn’t want to detract from that. Ventura addressed his team prior to Sunday’s game to inform them of his decision.

“You have that thing you grow up with from your parents that when you start something you do it,” Ventura said. “If you get fired, that’s one thing. But I knew I was going to finish what I signed up to do. And I did that.”

Ventura has no plans to take another job within the organization and for now has no designs to manage again. Once questioned whether or not he wanted to be the team’s manager, Ventura said he’d say “yes again” if he had to do it all over. Ventura lamented the lack of team victories but enjoyed the job.

“You just do what you can do and how you conduct yourself,” Ventura said. “It’s not like they’re going to be building a statue or putting a statue out on the concourse. You do what you can and that’s all you can really do.”

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.