Lots of names have been linked to the White Sox’s managerial opening since Ozzie Guillen went to the Marlins on September 28, but in the end the choice came out of nowhere.
In a surprise move the White Sox announced that Robin Ventura will replace Guillen as their new manager.
Ventura played 10 seasons for the White Sox as a power-hitting, Gold Glove-winning (and Nolan Ryan-fighting) third baseman–with Guillen often next to him at shortstop–retiring in 2004 at age 36. Since then he’s been a television analyst for college games on ESPN
“I wanted someone who met very specific criteria centered around his leadership abilities and Robin Ventura was that man,” general manager Ken Williams told reporters.
This is a certainly a bold, shocking move by Williams and the White Sox, but Ventura’s lack of experience makes it tough to have an opinion on his ability to do the job. He’s generally well respected around baseball, but has zero coaching track record aside from working with his son’s high school team.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.