By: Kyle Smith
CARLSBAD, Calif. — Legendary NFL head coach Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are,” but in the minds of Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and the entire Sox upper management, Rick Renteria brings a lot more to the table than what his 203-284 lifetime record as a MLB skipper says to the average baseball fan.
Having the intuition that Renteria is a good fit for the still-rebuilding Sox, Hahn and the franchise recently rewarded the 56-year-old skipper with a contract extension.\
“On the front end, on the rebuild part, at the core, he’s a teacher,” Hahn says of Renteria, who went 73-89 in his lone season as the Chicago Cubs manager during the 2014 season. “As we eventually move into a phase where we’re ready to win and have a roster that’s capable of winning championships, we believe he’s the right guy in terms of the culture he’s created and the ability to steward a championship-caliber club.”
The non-specific contract extension helps Renteria and Hahn avoid a “lame-duck season,” which, in layman’s terms, means Renteria would have to be managing the 2019 ballclub without future job security.
However, on Chicago’s north side, Cubs manager Joe Maddon is still entering a lame-duck 2019 season, with Cubs president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, saying this is the “appropriate move” to not ink a contract renewal anytime soon.
In terms of wins and losses, Maddon is clearly the better manager. That being said, Renteria was let go of his managing duties just prior to the Kris Bryant-Addison Russell-Kyle Schwarber era beginning with Maddon at the helm.
There are no guarantees, of course, to hypothesize how Renteria would have done in his second year as manager of the Cubbies, but it is obvious to point out that Renteria’s 2014 team was far and away less talented than the 2015 one that advanced to the National League Championship Series.
The 2018 Maddon-led Cubs finished one win shy of advancing to the National League Division Series. Although they won 90+ games for the fourth straight season, the 2018 campaign ended with the Cubbies scoring just one run in three of their last four games.
Meanwhile, Renteria’s 2018 season was the worst one of his MLB managing career as he finished with a .383 winning percentage. Despite the lack of victories, Renteria tried to get his players to utilize their speed and avoid station-to-station baseball.
The 2018 season saw the Sox take plenty of chances while on the basepaths: they attempted to steal second base 8.2 percent of the time and third base another 2 percent.
Renteria is a big proponent of hustling, and the White Sox are very supportive of his non-quitting mentality by establishing the “Ricky’s boys don’t quit” as a marketing slogan.
The White Sox players even wear t-shirts with the No. 27 on them, and by doing so, the No. 27 equates to them playing hard for all 27 outs of a MLB game.