Robin Ventura won 85 games as a rookie manager in 2012, but the White Sox lost 99 games last year and 89 games this year.
Despite a 221-265 overall record general manager Rick Hahn is full of praise for Ventura, telling Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that he’s done “an excellent job.”
Hahn explained that he has not considered changing managers, saying:
You have to take into account the personnel that they’re given. I don’t think it’s fair to expect them to have every player on the roster consistently overachieve or achieve at perhaps a level beyond the player’s capabilities. So we judge it from the prism of what was he given and what did he get out of them. His communication continues to be outstanding, his ability to keep all the players involved, keep them on point, to prioritize the things that we feel are important and respond to inevitable challenges.
Of course, Hahn is also linked to Ventura and is responsible for much of the rebuilt roster since taking over for longtime general manager Ken Williams. Lack of experienced talent and injuries are enough to keep Ventura off the heat seat, but another losing season could change that in a hurry.
With a new general manager and (eventually) a new manager the Diamondbacks will no doubt be looking to make lots of roster moves this offseason and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes that they may see what offers are out there for a young shortstop.
Arizona has several in 22-year-old Chris Owings, 24-year-old Didi Gregorius, and 24-year-old Nick Ahmed, all of whom have flaws but also have a chance to develop into quality starting shortstops. And that’s always something plenty of teams need.
Piecoro speculates that perhaps the Diamondbacks could trade one of those shortstops for a similarly talented but flawed young starting pitcher or maybe even do that while also shedding Aaron Hill and his remaining contract.
Whatever the case, if new general manager Dave Stewart starts calling around for various trade targets you can be sure other teams will ask him about his stockpile of shortstops.
Adam Wainwright’s availability for Game 5 of the NLDS was in question because of elbow problems. St. Louis made that a moot point by winning Game 4 to knock off the Dodgers, but now Wainwright’s status for the NLCS is in question too.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals plan to start Wainwright in Game 1 against the Giants on Saturday, but have Lance Lynn ready as a backup option “if the club does not feel Wainwright is ready for the game or is unable to pitch deep into it.”
According to Goold he “has pitched for several months through some tendinitis and discomfort around his right elbow, a condition that caused him to miss a start back in June.”
Wainwright was amazing in September, going 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA, but struggled in Game 1 of the NLDS while giving up six runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings versus Los Angeles.
Royals manager Ned Yost announced that James Shields will start Game 1 of the ALCS against the Orioles, but he would only go so far as to say that he’s “pretty set” on Yordano Ventura for Game 2.
Ventura had an ugly relief appearance in the Wild Card Game, but the 23-year-old rookie bounced back with seven innings of one-run ball against the Angels in Game 2 of the ALDS.
During the regular season Ventura threw 183 innings with a 3.20 ERA while allowing just 14 homers in 782 plate appearances, including a grand total of one homer in his final 10 starts.
Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, and Danny Duffy are the candidates to start later in the series, but Yost avoided giving any clues about his plans beyond Game 2.
Gio Gonzalez is starting Game 4 for the Nationals tonight, but manager Matt Williams says Game 1 starter Stephen Strasburg will be available out of the bullpen.
Strasburg has never pitched in relief, in the minors or the majors, but it’d be interesting to see how much harder he could throw in a one-inning stint after averaging 94.8 miles per hour as a starter this season.
Williams has not yet announced who would start Game 5 for the Nationals, but Strasburg is available tonight whereas the other candidate, Jordan Zimmermann, would only pitch in an “extreme emergency.”