According to Bob Nightingale of USA Today, the White Sox are prepared to bring Robin Ventura back to manage the team for the 2017 season. The job is Ventura’s, so the report says, if he wants it.
Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Rays, Ventura himself downplayed any such report. “I appreciate all the concern,” he joked, “I’m waiting until the end of the year. [White Sox General Manager] Rick [Hahn] and I always have discussions but I’m waiting until the end of the year.”
Ventura tabled all discussion of whether the front office has made up its mind on his return or whether he believes he’ll be back saying he’s waiting until the end of the year to have that talk. For now, he’s choosing to focus on the day to day. “I’ve enjoyed the job,” Ventura said. “I’m figuring out how to get to the end of the year right now. That’s the biggest concern. Even talking to Chris [Sale] in there and seeing if Sunday is going to happen or not and we’ll go from there.”
For what it’s worth, Ventura wasn’t sure yet whether Sale would pitch the final game of the year. Sale could set a career high in wins with 18 should he make the start.
The White Sox have disappointed since their 23-10 start to the season and are have to win out the remainder of the year to not finish under .500 for a fourth consecutive year. Even then, they’ll be right at 81-81.
“You’re disappointed if you’re not going to the playoffs,” Ventura said. “That part has never changed. Especially with the way we started off. We were excited. We thought we were going in that direction and we didn’t.”
Whether a decision on Ventura has been made or not, there are other, perhaps bigger fish to fry this offseason. Hahn has stated “everything is on the table” as well as that once the White Sox make their first move, their winter plan will be clear. It would stand to reason then that Ventura, who has largely managed his five seasons with the Sox under a “win-now” dictate from the front office, would want to manage a rebuild.
Ventura kept that issue out of today’s conversation. “I don’t get to choose that necessarily,” Ventura said. “I don’t really get into that.”
With five games left in the regular season, the time is fast approaching for the team to make their desires clear and set a course through the winter into spring of 2017.