For the second time in his career, Rick Renteria will try his hand at managing in Chicago. The White Sox announced the 54-year-old as their next manager Monday, a day after Robin Ventura said he would not return for a sixth season.

Renteria served as Ventura’s bench coach in 2016. He previously managed the Chicago Cubs to a 73-89 record in 2014 before being fired in favor of Joe Maddon.

The hire had become one of baseball’s worst-kept secrets in recent days. Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that a replacement plan was already in place, though Ventura and Renteria refused to comment on the matter before the regular season ended.

Ventura, whose contract expired after 2016, went 375-435 in his five seasons with the franchise. The White Sox have not made the playoffs since 2008 but were expected to compete near the top of the AL Central this season. Instead, they went 78-84 to record their fourth straight losing campaign.

“We came up short, and I feel like that falls on me,” Ventura said while noting the organization needed a new voice, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. “You just do what you can do and [control] how you conduct yourself. It’s not like they’re going to be putting a statue out on the concourse [of me]. You do what you can, and that’s all you can really do.”

A baseball lifer who spent his playing and managerial careers scraping his way through and hoping for a big league shot, Renteria’s lone chance at MLB management was a bit of a fiasco. He was a placeholder on the 2014 Cubs, a roster laden with pieces that weren’t yet ready to be put into a puzzle.

The Cubs enacted their sweeping plan to be contenders after firing Renteria that winter, hiring Maddon in his place, signing big-ticket free agents and calling up a swath of elite young talent. In a statement announcing Renteria’s firing, Cubs president Theo Epstein said the manager “deserved to come back for another season.” Maddon’s sudden departure from Tampa Bay simply proved too tempting.

Renteria should get a more legitimate shot next season, although it’s an interesting call to promote from within. It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see the White Sox completely clean house after starting 23-10 and then falling apart.

Instead, they’ll roll the dice on Renteria and hope the managerial instincts he showed in 2014 carry over. 


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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