Is it time for Robin Ventura to go?
Some times you reach a point where things are just not working. The White Sox are at that point now with Robin Ventura.
I have never been a big fan of Ventura as a manager. When the decision to hire Robin was made my initial reaction was total shock bordering on confusion, but also quite intrigued to see another of my favorite players from when I grew up back in the Sox dugout.
By the time the 2013 season was finished I was pretty much over the Robin Ventura experiment. The White Sox were not however and granted him an extension through the end of this season, and so here we are. The White Sox are once again on the verge of falling off the table and out of contention after getting off to a hot start, and it feels like if there was ever a time to pull the plug, this is it.
The latest losing streak and slump is of course, not entirely Ventura’s fault. The manager can only do so much, and when the bullpen fails as massively and completely as it did in Kansas City over the weekend, it probably wouldn’t have mattered who was making the pitching changes.
But this isn’t about one losing streak or one awful in-game decision, like telling the team’s number three hitter to BUNT during Monday’s loss, no this is about a continued pattern of bad decisions and losing streaks.
I wrote last week that Ventura’s teams have had problems cutting off and responding to losing streaks. It cost them the division in 2012, and it has continued to happen each and every season of Robin’s tenure. We were told by White Sox management that Ventura had all these qualities and capabilities to lead, even if he might struggle with in-game decisions early on. Well it’s been four-plus years and I am yet to see any signs that Ventura can inspire his teams to get off the deck and back in the fight and his in-game decision-making hasn’t improved enough, if at all.
Some times it just isn’t going to work.
Since Ventura took over as manager the White Sox have changed the on-field personnel, the scouting director, the hitting coach, the bench coach, and the organizational strategy. The two constants: losing and Robin Ventura.
They have had no problem jettisoning players that weren’t getting it done whether they be recent signings (Keppinger), long-term Sox players (Danks), or locker room distractions (LaRoche). Yet they still seem reluctant to make a change at the top of the pyramid.
What’s even more odd about this situation is that no manager in White Sox history, and certainly not under this current ownership and leadership group, has ever had a leash this long. Ventura is the first Sox manager to survive three straight losing seasons and still have a job. He has been given plenty of slack, probably more than he deserves.
White Sox management asked fans to be patient with Robin. He would need some time to learn on the job. Well I believe that Sox fans have been plenty patient, but you get to a point where you just don’t have any left, and we are at that point now. If the guy hasn’t figured it out by now, then he isn’t going to. And if Sox management hasn’t figured that out by now, then I don’t really know what to say.
Despite this extended funk, the Sox are still in decent shape. They are above .500 (barely) and in the mix in the AL Central, and there is a lot of season left. We have seen that this team is capable of playing good baseball. The time is now to make a move to shake things up and send a message.
Rick Renteria is a very capable manager and had Joe Maddon not become available, he could very easily still be managing the Cubs right now.
Make the move and give him a chance to try to right this ship. If they turn things around and are in the mix in July, you can add some pieces to help. If they continue to tailspin, then you can sell off some pieces if you choose. But they will be no worse off at the end of the year and at the very least will be able to tell their fans that they tried everything they could to make the season successful.
Firing Robin Ventura will not fix everything that is wrong with the White Sox. It might not fix anything at all.
But they are at the point where it needs to be done, because they have tried changing everything else already. This is a guy who was hired with no experience, who hasn’t won anything, and is viewed by most baseball observers as a bad manager. I get that he’s a nice guy and he was a great Sox player, but this is a results oriented business, and Robin has not delivered.
Some times, it just isn’t going to work.