Rick Renteria will replace Robin Ventura as Chicago White Sox manager, the team announced Monday.
Ventura said Sunday that he would not return to the position next season.
Renteria spent 2016 as bench coach for the White Sox. He also managed the Chicago Cubs in 2014 to a 73-89 record.
“I’m extremely excited,” Renteria said at his introductory news conference. “It’s a little bittersweet because I became good friends with Robin.”
General manager Rick Hahn said the organization might have found candidates as good — but none better — had they looked elsewhere. He also insisted Renteria would be the right man to lead the team whether it is undergoing a major overhaul or trying to contend.
To that end, Hahn said the White Sox know which way they want to go; he just wasn’t about to reveal it.
“Regardless of the direction, we think he’s capable of winning a World Series with the right personnel behind him,” he said. “Even if we do go to the extreme of tearing this thing down, so to speak, our goal is to get ourselves back to the World Series, and our hope is to do it with this manager.”
Ventura went 375-435 in five seasons with the White Sox. After his 85-77 debut in 2012 that wasn’t good enough for the playoffs, Ventura’s teams regressed.
The White Sox finished 78-84 this year, despite a 23-10 start that gave them a six-game lead in the AL Central on May 9. Thanks to injuries, a slumping offense and a shaky bullpen, the White Sox stumbled to a 55-74 mark the rest of the way and a fourth-place finish amid a couple of bizarre off-field incidents.
“I enjoy this place. I love this place,” a stoic Ventura said after Chicago’s season-ending 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins. “At the end, it probably needs a new voice.”