Renteria hiring first of significant moves to come

Renteria hiring first of significant moves to come

CHICAGO -- During the final month of the 2016 season, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the organization's direction would become obvious from its first couple of offseason moves.

"Someone immediately pointed out last offseason that our first move was signing Steve Lombardozzi to a Minor League contract, which probably didn't reveal too much about what we were about," said a smiling Hahn during Monday's press conference at U.S. Cellular Field announcing Rick Renteria as the club's 40th manager.

"So maybe I misspoke a little about our first or second transactions. But certainly with our first major transaction, and the ones that follow behind, that will make it clear about which direction we intend to go."

That first move involved Renteria taking over for Robin Ventura, who spoke with Hahn a little more than one month ago about making 2016 his last at the managerial helm. But providing a new voice on the field and in the clubhouse figures to be followed by a number of even more significant moves in a crucial offseason during Hahn's tenure.

Monday's news conference had its share of optimism tied to any new managerial hire. There was also a healthy dose of reality delivered by Hahn, as he spoke for another 20 minutes after the more formal portion of the announcement.

White Sox introduce Renteria

While it was Ventura who took the blame for the team's shortcomings during his final interview on Sunday, Hahn did the same on Monday.

"There is no one within the organization who feels let's just do exactly what we are doing right now and we are going to have better results," Hahn said. "Look, in this game, sometimes stranger things have happened.

"The ball bounces your way, and guys have a little healthier season, and the results are better with the same group. At the same time, the level of disappointment that we all feel and share with the players makes it clear to all of us that we are not going to simply follow the same script and hope that changing the calendar is going to change the results."

Ventura's final team raced to a 23-10 start, a great opening that Hahn knew eventually would regress a bit to the norm. He didn't plan on the club going 10-26 over the next 36 games. The White Sox finished 78-84 for fourth in the American League Central.

Part of the struggles centered on key injuries to relievers Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka and center fielder Austin Jackson, exposing the team's lack of depth behind a solid frontline of talent including Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu. There's a definite direction the team wants to go, per Hahn, one that involves increased spending if the team goes against a rebuild.

Rick Renteria on High Heat

"You saw this last offseason -- at the end -- we made a couple of smaller moves as a means of trying to plug our holes, some of which panned out better than others," Hahn said. "If we were a little more aggressive, perhaps, from a standpoint of a full measure as opposed to arguably a half-measure in a certain scenario, then conceivably, the results would have been different.

"Now, that player or players could have just as easily gotten hurt as some of the more patchwork players we added at the end, and then we'd be back to the same situation from a depth standpoint, an area we need to improve upon. But I do feel certainly the notion of, we're going to go for it in the 2017 season, [it] is going to involve a level of economic commitment."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.