White Sox

Sox Drawer: Ventura has believers in Lasorda, Torre

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Sox Drawer: Ventura has believers in Lasorda, Torre

NASHVILLE, Tenn -- When Robin Ventura became the manager of the Chicago White Sox without any managing or even coaching experience in baseball, he received some advice from a man who managed 3,040 major league games in his legendary career.

Former Los Angeles Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda.

Before the season, I told him, Take a picture now, Lasorda said. "Then I want to take a picture of you when the season is over, and its going to be a big difference. If you dont win its a big difference.

For most of the season, Ventura and the White Sox did win. They were in first place until September 25th. That might have helped Venturas mental health, as well as the hair on the top of his head.

I still have it, so Im alright, Ventura said Tuesday.

But when the White Sox proceeded to lose 11 of their last 15 games, and missed the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, any normal manager would be an emotional wreck, fraught with grief and inner turmoil.

Just ask Lasorda.

When I was a manager, I would walk the streets until 3 o'clock in the morning, Lasorda said. A lot of times I wouldnt take the bus after we lost afraid I would attack some of those players. But here I am walking the streets at 3 oclock in the morning and theyre out dancing somewhere. That doesnt go together.

Joe Torre managed 4,308 games, won four World Series, lost two others, and dropped 1,990 games during the regular season.

Name the experience as a manager, Torre has likely seen it, and felt it.

What the White Sox experienced late in the year was devastating, Torre said. Ive seen clubs go through it. I was lucky in 2000 because we lost 15 of the last 18 and won the World Series. Ventura got eeked out by the Detroit club that struggled all year long. But Robin I thought did a good job with anything that went on. Hes going to use what he felt surprised him and use that to his advantage because hes not going to bemoan the fact that this didnt happen. Hes going to learn from it.

On the outside, Ventura remained calm and cool during last seasons collapse. But what was happening on the inside? Safe to say it was devastating to Ventura?

I guess you could say that, Ventura revealed in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. But its not something you cant come back from. Its disappointing because you work so hard to put yourself in the position to win the division and it doesnt happen. But in sports, nothing is guaranteed. Again, you prepare and get ready again and gear up and go after it again.

Hidden behind Venturas relaxed demeanor is a fiery competitor who wants to win as much as every manager in the game--a temper that was on display when he was actually ejected from games last season.

I was happy to see him get mad a number of times, Torre said with a smile. You say, Look how cool and relaxed he is. I was that guy at one time.

Thats a part of the job, Ventura explained. Anytime youre competing, things are hot and heavy. It happens. Thats a part of the passion of the game and what you do as a player and as a manager. It happens. It will probably happen again.

So after completing his first season as manager of the White Sox, is there one specific area with his team hed like to improve?

Yeah, Ventura said. Id like to get 10 more wins in September.

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.