Rick Renteria isn’t the White Sox manager anymore, but he is a finalist for the American League Manager of the Year Award.
The White Sox chose to part ways with Renteria on Oct. 12, hiring Hall-of-Fame skipper Tony La Russa as his replacement last week with the intent of making the South Siders world champions.
But that doesn’t change what Renteria accomplished during the 2020 season, leading a White Sox team that lost 89 games the year before to the postseason, the franchise’s first playoff berth in a dozen years. For it, he was one of the top three finishers in the vote for the AL Manager of the Year Award, alongside Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays and Charlie Montoyo of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Renteria oversaw the White Sox during the last four seasons as they underwent a full-scale rebuilding project. He was often lauded for his developmental prowess and his ability to connect with his players, building a much praised culture in the White Sox clubhouse.
This season saw the arrival of the latest wave of talent, and the White Sox vaulted out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode with a 35-25 record fueled by a sensational midseason stretch that featured 23 wins in 29 games.
But Renteria was the focus of much fan consternation as the White Sox stumbled down the stretch, finishing the regular season with eight losses in their final 10 games, then making a swift exit from the playoffs, losing their best-of-three AL Wild Card Series against the Oakland Athletics. Renteria faced a lot of fan criticism for his bullpen management down the stretch, though the team still managed to come within a game of winning the AL Central crown.
Regardless, Renteria is no longer the manager, the White Sox going with someone who has experience getting a team to a championship, and indeed they found that in La Russa. But Renteria is still being acknowledged for the team turning things around during an ascendant 2020 season.
The AL Manager of the Year will be announced Nov. 10. Should Renteria win the award, he’ll be the first South Side skipper to do it since Ozzie Guillén in 2005 and the sixth White Sox manager to win it all time. Ironically, the first White Sox manager to win was La Russa in 1983.