When Robin Ventura was hired by the Chicago White Sox to be their manager at the start of the 2012 season, he signed a three-year deal at the time.
After leading the White Sox to a surprising 85-77 record in 2012, it was reported by Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune last February that Ventura had turned down a contract extension after just one year on the job.
According to Gonzalez, Ventura’s reasoning was simple—he wanted to make sure that incoming general Rick Hahn was comfortable with Ventura as his skipper.
“It’s flattering and nice and everything," said Ventura, who agreed to a three-year deal in October of 2012 and had been offered an extension for the 2015 season from general manager Rick Hahn. "But in talking to Rick, we have two more years to do this. We have good communication and everything is fine. I think this is my contract. I was the same way as a player. I’ll worry about it at the end of it.
"For them, I want them to have two years to think I’m still the right guy for the job for that to continue to go. It wasn’t anything that was a big deal, so I’m not holding out for anything or disappointed in not wanting to stay here. I think at the end of that, that’s when you talk about it. I’m not worried about trying to extend anything right now. I’m more worried with this team in this spring training than I’m worried about 2015.”
In his second year at the helm, the White Sox faltered, ending the season with a 63-99 record. But the team also suffered through injuries, losing starters Gavin Floyd and John Danks for long stretches and trading Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox.
Now, it’s obvious that Hahn is in fact comfortable with Ventura at the helm, as the White Sox announced on Friday that Ventura was signed to a multi-year contract extension.
Hahn has steadily put his mark on the White Sox, starting last summer with the trade of Peavy that landed promising young outfielder Avisail Garcia. He then traded right fielder Alex Rios to the Texas Rangers, getting in return a speedy young infielder in Leury Garica.
This offseason, Hahn has added a potential leadoff hitter in Adam Eaton, signed Cuban hitting prospect Juan Abreu for $68 million and then traded closer Addison Reed to the Arizona Diamondbacks for third baseman Matt Davidson. It was his second deal with the Diamondbacks in a span of five days.
Now, he has Ventura for the foreseeable to guide a team that will have plenty of fresh faces.
Ventura faces a tall task. He has to compete with the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, both of whom made the postseason last year. The Kansas City Royals are an improved team as well.
Ventura will have to deal with an offense that was last in the American League in runs scored last season and finished second-to-last with 121 errors.
Hitting and defense are the obvious focuses as areas to improve, but Ventura will also have to keep pace in a division that’s seen vast improvement as well.
Speaking at a press conference during the SoxFest on Friday, Hahn gave Ventura a solid vote of support.
"Robin's leadership was unwavering during the highest highs and lowest lows the last two years," Hahn said.
It’s that leadership that Ventura will need to deliver in what’s expected to be a bounceback season for the White Sox.