White Sox

White Sox manager Rick Renteria ready for new challenge

White Sox manager Rick Renteria ready for new challenge

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's going from Mr. Nice Guy to Family Guy and Rick Renteria sounds ready for the difference.

Although he'll have to adapt some to his new role as White Sox manager, Renteria, who spent last season as the team's bench coach under Robin Ventura, said Monday at Camelback Ranch that he doesn't expect his upbeat personality would change much.

A father of four, Renteria sees a lot of similarities between parenting and being the manager of a baseball team. He intends to use that experience when his tenure as White Sox manager officially begins on Tuesday when pitchers and catchers report to camp and hold their first workout. Position players arrive on Saturday.

"The reality is I have a line that I have to toe in terms of having the responsibility to lead these guys in a particular direction," Renteria said. "So that is on me now, that is my law. 

"There are going to be times where my guys don't like me very much, and that's OK. There are going to be time where I don't like them very much. But I'm always going to love them. A priest told me, kids aren't always going to love your parents, and parents are not always going to love your kids. But it's the same thing, same approach."

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Unlike when he managed the Cubs for two seasons, Renteria is already familiar with his roster after he spent last season with the White Sox. When Ventura stepped down at the end of last season, the White Sox didn't hesitate, naming Renteria their manager the very next day.

Renteria is at an advantage as he already knows the temperature of the room having been around most of his club for the past season. There's still plenty of work to be done, but Renteria is starting in a good position.

"Obviously having the ability to know some of the personalities is a big difference," Renteria said. "We tried to do as much studying as we could on the other young men we had previous. But getting to know some of the guys that were here all last year, it's still going to be a process getting to know the new guys coming into camp. We are watching a little bit of what they have done from the game's perspective, but getting to know them personally is another big piece of the puzzle."

Renteria doesn't intend to make wholesale changes to how spring camp is run — "just trying to be a little bit more detailed," he said. As for his own management style, Renteria doesn't plan much adjustment there, either, based off his 2014 experience with the Cubs.

"If there's anything, from a personal standpoint, is that you know that a process does work," Renteria said. "When you're going about doing things and understanding that outcomes, results — they'll hear me talking about it a lot. Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to get the big hit — those are all results. We have to concentrate on making sure we understand when we don't get it done, was it because we failed in our approach or was it the outcome based on we did everything perfectly well and it was just what was given to us in that particular moment?"

The baseball world reacts to the Yasmani Grandal signing

The baseball world reacts to the Yasmani Grandal signing

The White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal broke suddenly and unexpectedly.

It wasn’t a big surprise that the White Sox would go after him, but the timing and the fact that the White Sox broke the news on their own (a la the Jose Quintana trade) caught people off guard.

Once the dust settled, the White Sox were in the national spotlight as far as the baseball world was concerned.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan got Ken Williams on the record before the White Sox had conference calls on the signing. Williams makes it sound like it’s go-time for the South Siders.

Passan also gave a look at a potential White Sox lineup for 2020 once prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal eventually join. We also made our own.

The Athletic’s Jayson Stark was impressed with how early the signing was. White Sox fans will enjoy that after going through the long, drawn out Manny Machado/Bryce Harper sagas last offseason.

Here are some Grandal stats that should get White Sox fans fired up about his addition (if they weren’t already).

Finally, is it time to talk playoffs? Long way to go, but the White Sox offseason is off to a notable start.

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What does Yasmani Grandal’s addition mean for the White Sox at DH?

What does Yasmani Grandal’s addition mean for the White Sox at DH?

The White Sox have a brand-spanking new catcher.

What they still don’t have is a new designated hitter. Maybe.

Grandal will be the team’s backstop, first and foremost, after signing a four-year deal that at $73 million is the richest in team history, but he might end up helping Rick Hahn solve the equation at DH, too. Like any catcher, he isn’t expected to throw on the gear and squat for nine innings on a daily basis. But he carries a big enough stick that the White Sox will want him in their lineup as often as possible. An appearance at DH every once in a while would be a good way to do just that.

But Grandal might wind up just one part of a multifaceted DH puzzle. He can also play first base, after all, appearing there in 20 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019. Jose Abreu is ticketed for the daily duties at that spot in 2020, but Hahn said last week that Abreu will play some DH, like he did in 2019. When Abreu needs a day off his feet, Grandal can play first base.

And then there are the team’s other catchers, James McCann and Zack Collins. While the kind of offensive output they’ll churn out in 2020 remains a mystery — one of the big reasons Grandal’s addition makes so much sense — rosters expanding to hold 26 players could mean they both stay on the big league roster, even with Grandal in the fold. On days Grandal is behind the plate, perhaps Rick Renteria will utilize them as DH options.

"It gives us options there," Hahn said Thursday. "But it's Nov. 21. We've got a lot of offseason left. So let's see what else comes together over the coming months, and if in fact it winds up where Zack or a combination of Yasmani and James in the DH spot is the best option, then we'll see how that works out.

"It's a little too early to say that's exactly how it'll line up come late March."

It’s the rest of that offseason that could present the White Sox with Door No. 3.

Designated hitter has been one of the items on Hahn’s to-do list since the offseason began, and he said just last week that the solution to the hole there — where the White Sox had some of the worst production in the American League — would likely be an external one.

Grandal counts as an external fix, but perhaps there’s a more everyday route the White Sox could go in free agency or via trade to add some thump to the lineup. Grandal is the kind of addition that makes the White Sox transitioning from rebuilding to contending in 2020 look more realistic. While other moves would need to happen to make that more of a certainty, there’s the possibility of the team adding enough that a short-term fix at DH would make sense.

That’s all down the road, of course.

Nothing might be set in stone at DH at the moment, even after Thursday’s big signing. But among the many things Grandal brings to the South Side is that versatility, providing the White Sox with a number of paths to travel down in search of a solution.

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