White Sox

Cubs' Anthony Rizzo on new White Sox manager Rick Renteria: 'He'll do well there'

Cubs' Anthony Rizzo on new White Sox manager Rick Renteria: 'He'll do well there'

Though he only had one season on the North Side, the Cubs think highly of former manager Rick Renteria and expect he’ll succeed with the White Sox.

Promoted by the White Sox last month to replace Robin Ventura, Renteria managed the Cubs to a 73-89 mark in 2014. The 2014 Cubs played their best baseball down the stretch but chose to replace Renteria with current manager Joe Maddon after he opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Renteria sat out the 2015 season before he returned to the dugout as the White Sox bench coach in 2016. But several members of the Cubs said Renteria conducted himself well in his first season as a manager and his style should lend itself to success in his new opportunity.

“It was fun,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “I think he has the benefit now too of being there for a year so all their guys know him and what he’s going to bring. They know how good the guy is.

“He’ll do well there. I think he really will.”

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Cubs’ third-base coach Gary Jones worked with Renteria at several stops in the San Diego Padres’ farm system and again with the Cubs in 2014. He thinks Renteria’s upbeat personality, energy and effective personal skills make him a good leader.

"He’s going to be a good communicator, a calming influence, just a good person,” Jones said. “Not only is he a good baseball coach, he’s a good person in general. He has probably one of the biggest hearts of anybody I’ve been around. I can’t say enough good about him. He’s definitely going to be a positive influence in that clubhouse.

“He’s always been the energy, the positivity, just always dwells on the positive. I think that’s part of what makes him so unique is he’s just a good baseball person, but he dwells on the positive and he gets the most out of the players. Players love playing for him and that’s a big thing.”

General manager Jed Hoyer said Renteria was a particularly effective teacher to younger players. Ex-shortstop Starlin Castro had his best season ever when he played for Renteria in 2014. Castro hit .292/.339/.438 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs and was worth 2.8 f-WAR.

The team also produced its best two months at the end of the 2014 season, going 28-25 in August and September.

“I’m really excited for him,” Hoyer said. “He’s a wonderful person. He did a great job in San Diego. Obviously we’ve talked about it a lot here — I don’t think we were entirely fair to him. He did a good job for us. We just had a chance to hire who we thought was the best manager in the game, who had the experience and felt like was the perfect person for this job. Any other person and (Renteria) may well still be a Cub. I’m thrilled for him, and he must have done a really good job as their bench coach to make them kind of short-circuit the process and do it early. I think the White Sox will really enjoy getting to know him.”

Eloy Jimenez celebrates new contract with monster day in spring training

Eloy Jimenez celebrates new contract with monster day in spring training

The ink on Eloy Jimenez's contract is still drying, but the outfielder already celebrated with a big game in spring training.

Jimenez and Rick Hahn spoke at a press conference mere hours before Saturday's Cactus League game against the Dodgers took place. Then Jimenez did his thing with the bat in the game.

The 22-year-old opened with a walk then followed with a pair of singles later in the game. He saved his best for last with a home run in the eighth inning.

Jimenez had not been having a good spring training and was even sent down to minor league camp nearly two weeks ago. Saturday's action was his first game in big league camp since March 11.

Before Saturday he was hitting .154/.154/.346 in nine games. The 3-for-3 game moved Jimenez's spring numbers to a much more respectable .241/.267/.517. His walk on Saturday was his first in the Cactus League. He now has two home runs.

During Saturday's press conference, Hahn went out of his way to say they are not making any announcements about the Opening Day roster yet. It is still assumed the Jimenez will start with the White Sox, but Hahn said they would like to have face-to-face conversations with the other players involved when it comes to the 25-man roster decisions.

With that said, Jimenez did bat sixth on Saturday. That could be a glimpse of where he will bat on Opening Day with Yoan Moncada (who continued his hot spring with two doubles and a home run on Saturday), Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Yonder Alonso and Welington Castillo batting ahead of Jimenez in the lineup.

Plenty of eyes with remain on Jimenez for the rest of spring and in 2019. He delivered in his first game since signing his new contract.

 

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Nicky Delmonico sent to Triple-A, but do White Sox need to cut another outfielder to clear room for Eloy Jimenez?

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USA TODAY

Nicky Delmonico sent to Triple-A, but do White Sox need to cut another outfielder to clear room for Eloy Jimenez?

The White Sox made a notable outfield cut Saturday, sending Nicky Delmonico to Triple-A Charlotte not long after Eloy Jimenez signed his new six-year deal.

Rick Hahn wouldn't 100-percent confirm during the press conference whether or not Jimenez would be on the team's Opening Day roster, but the new deal eliminates the service-time conversation surrounding Jimenez and allows him to make his major league debut when the regular season starts next week in Kansas City.



If Jimenez is going to end up on the Opening Day roster, the White Sox will need to make room for him. That could mean cutting another outfielder in addition to Delmonico, but not necessarily. More on that in a bit.

Delmonico might have had a tough time making the Opening Day roster even if Jimenez would've started the season in the minor leagues. The White Sox outfield is a crowded one after the offseason addition of veteran Jon Jay. The presence of Adam Engel, Daniel Palka and the versatile Leury Garcia made it difficult to envision a place for Delmonico, who had a disappointing, injury-filled season in 2018 after showing promise at the end of the 2017 campaign.

It seems as if, eventually, the White Sox could have to move another one of those aforementioned outfielders to make room for Jimenez, who figures to be the team's everyday left fielder in 2019. But that decision could be delayed until mid April thanks to a bunch of built-in off days at the start of the regular-season schedule.

Both Hahn and manager Rick Renteria have discussed the possibility of the White Sox using only four starting pitchers at the outset of the season. Thanks to those off days, those four starters can all pitch on regular rest until as late as April 17. So, theoretically, Ervin Santana, who figures to wind up as the team's fifth starter, wouldn't be needed on the major league roster until that finale of a home series against the Kansas City Royals in mid April. That's one less pitcher that needs to be on the roster and one more position player that can be on the roster.

The versatility of Garcia, who has torn the cover off the ball this spring, and infielder Jose Rondon, who has added a little bit of outfield to his repertoire this spring (and is out of options), means they're likely not going anywhere. But instead of having to potentially dispatch of fan favorite Palka before the season even begins, there are potentially two spots available for three players, those two and Engel. Palka brings power, while Engel brings defense. Both have their weaknesses, too, Palka seeming best suited for a DH role that has been given to the combination of Jose Abreu and Yonder Alonso, and Engel the owner of a career .207/.260/.314 slash line.

It's important to note in all of this, too, that Renteria has said that Jay might not be an everyday player. Jay's versatility in the outfield also means he might be playing at one set position all season. So for those arguing that the White Sox could have an everyday outfield of Jimenez, Jay and Palka for the next six months, it might not be so simple. And if Jimenez and Palka are in the corners, that makes Engel's glove all the more valuable.

Jimenez returned to the White Sox lineup for Saturday's Cactus League game, perhaps another sign that he could return to the major league roster after being optioned to Charlotte prior to the announcement of the new contract.

Whether his making the roster would force off another outfielder remains to be seen.

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