When Robin Ventura was named as the White Sox manager going into 2012, I was a bit skeptical. Watching the interviews after the announcement and hearing how the process involved a certain amount of recruitment. Taking on a managerial job, it seems that the person should want the job and not need convincing. In addition, when Ventura spoke about getting the job he seemed as surprised as anyone that he was the new manager. Not quite a deer in headlights, but not exactly a panther waiting to strike either.
The 2012 season started off and was a modest success for the first-year manager. The team finished 85-77 and Ventura gained some votes for Manager of the Year. For all of the good feelings that the winning record garnered the finish by the team was troubling. With 15 games left and a three game lead on the Tigers, the White Sox proceeded to finished 4-11 and three games out of first. I understand that the manager isn't totally to blame for poor performance, but the manager is part of the equation. The final record isn't an absolute measure of a manager, but it is an indicator. The object of the game, the season is to win, don't do that enough and that has to come back on the manager to some degree, eventually it should cost him his job.
Which leads to 2013, a historically bad year for the White Sox. It was the first 90 loss season since 2007 and the most losses since 1970 when they lost 106. If a team losses 99 games, yeah, they pretty much stink. Watching the White Sox was painful last year. There wasn't really any aspect of the team that was enjoyable, with the notable exception of Chris Sale. And Robin Ventura was part of that season, no way around it. I don't blame Ventura for the season, he didn't pitch poorly, play poor defense and he didn't look lost at the plate. Yet 2013 is as much a part of Ventura's performance as 2012 and he should be judged accordingly.
After 2013, it looked like the White Sox might have gotten lucky when, before the season started, Ventura turned down an extension. He said he wanted to honor his contract and see where things were then, basically sounding as reluctant a manager has he was heading into 2012. If 2014 turns out as poor as 2013, then Ventura could finish his contract and be finished and back in California before the leaves fall from the trees.
Except the White Sox decided, instead of letting Ventura carry out his plan of finishing his current contract, assessing things at the end of 2014, the White Sox offered a multi-year extension to Ventura. It just seems odd that after being, in effect, rejected by Ventura, the manager who in two years has amassed a losing record, the team decided to comeback with an even better extension offer. Why not keep Ventura to his original plan? After such an epically bad year, why not wait and see how 2014 goes? If the team looks the same as last year through July, especially after the good, if modes,t moves by Rick Hahn then why not move on? It should be remembered, Rick Hahn didn't hire Ventura. If there isn't noticeable improvement in 2014, would't that be the best time to bring in ones own guy?
Jerry Reinsdorf is famous for his loyalty. The stories of him helping his employees and employing his former players are legion. He seems like a genuinely good person to work for. However, that loyalty can sometimes be questioned. The most famous episode being the continued support of Jerry Krause well after everyone had lost faith in his performance. I'm not sure if the faith the White Sox are putting in Robin Ventura is well-founded. After two seasons he stands at a .457 winning percentage, a decent year with a collapse at the end and an abysmal year. After two seasons, I don't know if Robin Ventura is a good or bad manager, but it seems like the wrong time to extend his employment, further data is required.