White Sox

Looking back at Robin Ventura's career timeline

Looking back at Robin Ventura's career timeline

Robin Ventura announced after Sunday’s game he won’t return as White Sox manager, ending a five-year return tenure on the South Side in which his teams went 375-435. A look back at the 49-year-old’s career timeline:

1986: Ventura leads college baseball with 96 RBIs as a freshman at Oklahoma State. 
1987: As a sophomore, shatters an NCAA record with a 58-game hitting streak with the Cowboys. 
1988: Ventura wins a gold medal with the United States baseball team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. 
1988: Ventura is drafted with the 10th overall pick by the White Sox and signs on Oct. 21. 
1989: After hitting .278 with 67 RBIs as a 21-year-old in Double-A, Ventura goes 1-4 with an RBI in his major league debut Sept. 12 in Baltimore. 

1990: Ventura endures a streak of 42 at-bats without a hit between April 18 and May 11, but still finishes seventh in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He finished his rookie season with a .699 OPS and five home runs. 
1991: A 23-home run, 100 RBI season vaults Ventura on to the national scene, and he wins the first of six Gold Gloves, including three in a row from 1991-1993. 
1992: Ventura earns the first of two All-Star game bids. 
1993: On Aug. 4, Ventura infamously charges Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and gets his head pounded in by the then-Rangers pitcher. He also draws a career-high 105 walks and strikes out only 82 times in 669 plate appearances as the White Sox reach the American League Championship Series. 
1996: Ventura blasts a career high 34 home runs with an .888 OPS. 

1997: A gruesome compound fracture in his ankle suffered during spring training keeps Ventura sidelined until late July, though he still manages a .799 OPS and six home runs in his abbreviated season. 
1998: In his final year with the White Sox, Ventura racks up 5.8 WAR — just shy of a career high — and hits 21 home runs. He’s granted free agency after the season and signs a five-year, $36.5 million deal with the New York Mets. 
1999: Ventura puts together a career year, hitting 32 home runs with 120 RBIs, a .908 OPS and 7.1 WAR. He famously hits the “grand slam single,” to beat Atlanta in Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS. 

2000: A balky shoulder lands Ventura on the disabled list and limits his effectiveness in Year 2 with the Mets, as he’s only worth 1.9 WAR and hits a career-worst .232. 
2001: On Dec. 7, Ventura is shipped across town in a trade with the Yankees for outfielder David Justice. He finishes his three years with the Mets with 77 home runs and an .828 OPS. 
2002: Ventura earns his second All-Star appearance with a torrid first half — 19 home runs, 62 RBIs and an .878 OPS — though tails off in the second half of the season. 
2003: In a deadline deal, the Yankees trade Ventura to the Dodgers for outfielder Bubba Crosby and right-hander Scott Proctor. Ventura hits .220 with five home runs in 49 games as Los Angeles’ playoff push falls short. 
2004: Ventura is relegated to a reserve role behind Adrian Beltre, who hits 48 home runs and finishes second in NL MVP voting. The 36-year-old plays his final major league game on Oct. 2, going 0-3 with a walk against San Francisco. He finishes his 16-year career with 294 home runs, 1,182 RBIs, an .806 OPS and 56.7 WAR. 

2010: Ventura works on ESPN's broadcast team for the College World Series and Little League World Series. 

2011: The White Sox hire Ventura as a special advisor for player development on June 6. Four months later, he’s hired to replace Ozzie Guillen as the club’s manager and signs a three-year contract. 
2012: In his first year as manager, Ventura’s White Sox win 85 games and fall just shy of winning the AL Central. The White Sox were leading the division with nine games remaining, but wound up losing the division by three games to the Detroit Tigers. 
2013: The White Sox lose 99 games, their highest total since 1970, and finish 30 games out of first place. 
2014: Despite the dismal 2013 showing, Ventura signs a multi-year extension during SoxFest in January. The White Sox go on to a 73-89 record that summer.
2015: With expectations high after the offseason acquisitions of Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera, Ventura’s White Sox get off to a slow start and never recover. The White Sox finish with a 76-86 record, meaning for the first time in franchise history they employed a manager for three consecutive losing seasons.

2016: The White Sox go 23-10 in their first 33 games and look like legitimate contenders in the American League Central. But after peaking with a 6 1/2-game division lead May 9, the White Sox go on to lose 10 of their next 11 series. While the White Sox made a late June/early July push, the summer was marred by a clubhouse incident involving Chris Sale destroying the team’s throwback jerseys and later criticizing Ventura for how he handled it. Ventura on Sunday announced that he won’t return as manager after the White Sox finished the season 78-84, the franchise’s fourth consecutive losing season. 

Potential White Sox target comes off board as Madison Bumgarner signs with Diamondbacks

Potential White Sox target comes off board as Madison Bumgarner signs with Diamondbacks

Having already lost out on Zack Wheeler, the White Sox can now scratch another free agent pitcher off the list of potential targets.

Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the Diamondbacks are nearing a five-year deal with former Giants star Madison Bumgarner worth $85 million.

The White Sox weren’t heavily rumored to be pursuing Bumgarner and signing him was somewhat unrealistic. Although the South Siders are looking to add a starting pitcher or two this winter, Bumgarner enjoys hitting and therefore seemed more likely to sign with a National League team. The 30-year-old’s career OPS is .532 but he’s hit 19 homers in 11 seasons.

Adding Bumgarner would have provided the South Siders a veteran starter — one with an excellent postseason track record — to mix with their young rotation featuring Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease. With MadBum off the board, the list of major free agent pitchers continues to shrink. 

Lefties Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu are still available, but other teams that missed out on Bumgarner will shift their focus to the duo. Consequently, the White Sox will face stiff competition if they wish to sign either pitcher. Both were expected to be more affordable than Bumgarner but interested teams may be willing to offer more money to ensure they don’t come out of free agency empty-handed.

Where the White Sox turn next is to be determined. What's certain is they're running out of free agent options to upgrade their rotation.

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Indians signal big shift with trade of Corey Kluber


Indians signal big shift with trade of Corey Kluber

The Indians have won more than 90 games in each of the past four seasons, with three AL Central titles in that span, but big changes are coming in Cleveland.

With rumors of a Francisco Lindor trade still floating around, the Indians have dealt two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to Texas. The return package from the Rangers includes outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and reliever Emmanuel Clase.

DeShields Jr. is a 27-year-old speedster who has struggled offensively since debuting with the Rangers in 2015. He has a career .668 OPS with a .591 OPS in 2018 and a .672 OPS last season. For comparison, White Sox outfielder Adam Engel had a .614 OPS in 2018 and a .687 OPS in 2019.

Clase is a 21-year-old righthander who debuted with the Rangers last season. He is a hard-thrower, capable of reaching 102 mph with his fastball while also getting cut action on it. Clase had a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 innings in the majors in 2019. Still, he is only rated as the No. 30 prospect in the Rangers’ system by MLB Pipeline.

The Kluber trade is relevant to the White Sox because it’s a division power trading away a key player for younger, less established talent. It also shows the price to pay for a noteworthy pitcher in a trade.

If the White Sox fail to land a marquee starting pitcher in free agency, a trade is the next route.

The Kluber deal may have implications for the Cubs as well. Texas appears to be intent on competing with the Astros, A's and Angels in the AL West. The Rangers have been linked to free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson, and if he winds up in Texas, that would clarify possible trade partners for Kris Bryant.

Back in the AL Central, Kluber was a stud for the Indians from 2014-2018. He surpassed 200 innings each of those seasons and had a 2.85 ERA in that five-year period.

Last season, however, Kluber was limited to 35.2 innings in seven starts after getting hit by a line drive on May 1, which fractured his right arm. Even before the injury, the 33-year-old righthander struggled with a 5.80 ERA and the highest walk rate of his career (15 in 35.2 innings).

The Indians didn’t win the AL Central last season, but the fact that they won 93 games with only seven mostly ineffective starts from Kluber is a sign that he may not be as essential as he was in previous years.

Perhaps the return for Kluber is more a sign of a lack of belief in him after a tough 2019, but this level of package is something the White Sox could put together without trading a core piece of the future.

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