The White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal so early into the offseason was a surprise to many, but not Rick Renteria.
Renteria talked to reporters on Tuesday at the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in the West Loop. He was there serving Thanksgiving dinner for Chicagoland youth.
Naturally, Renteria eventually got asked about Grandal’s signing. He said he had a feeling the White Sox would sign Grandal during the meeting they had with him.
“My feel was he was probably going to come here,” Renteria said. “He was also selling himself to us. Even though we were asking questions, he was also bringing forward some things that were important in terms of how we prepare, what are the things we look for. ‘These are the things that I look for,’ he would say.”
Renteria knew Grandal from when they were both with the Padres in 2012 and 2013. Renteria was the Padres’ bench coach while Grandal was just breaking into the majors.
That familiarity with him helped Renteria get a read on what Grandal was thinking. He also has some experience on what he will bring to the White Sox.
“You’re bringing a young man who has got experience in those high-leverage type situations and hopefully that will be a part that helps us continue to move to the next phase of who we are as White Sox,” Renteria said.
Grandal was an all-star catcher last year just like his new teammate, James McCann. Now that the White Sox have both catchers, it’s on Renteria to figure out how to divvy up playing time for both and keep them happy.
“I think the addition of a catcher of his caliber, along with Mac, who has certainly helped us move some of these guys along in a very, very positive way, bodes well for us,” Renteria said.
Renteria said he called McCann right away to explain they still think highly of him as a player despite someone another player at his position.
“I’m sure he’s (saying) ‘Gosh, we just signed a guy and gave him a multiple-year contract. Where do I fit?’ Well, I made him understand,” Renteria said. “The conversation we had was, he knows how I feel about him. The whole organization knows how I feel about him. I love Mac and I think that this addition does not detract from who he is and what he brings to the table as White Sox. I wanted him to know that we’re going to make this work. I think that all players when you make a change or add, they deserve to have a conversation with the man that is putting the lineup together. I just said, ‘Listen, don’t worry about it. This will work itself out.’ It will. It always does. Things happen and right now this is a move that the organization felt that could us in a better position moving forward. Rick and everyone pulled the trigger and we’re glad we did because we’re getting better.”