Ventura declines 1-year extension
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com February 13, 2013 11:05PM
Sun-Times sportswriter Daryl Van Schouwen. January 27, 2012 | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:39PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — For someone who says he loves his job, White Sox manager Robin Ventura has a curious way of showing it.
Signed through two more years, Ventura was offered an extra year on his contract but said no thanks to general manager Rick Hahn.
“It was flattering and nice and everything, but in talking to Rick, we have two more years to do this,’’ Ventura said Wednesday after the extension offer became public. “This is my contract, and I was the same way as a player. I’ll worry about it at the end of it. In two years, I want them to think I’m the right guy for the job.’’
Ventura downplayed the whole thing after the second day of spring training for pitchers and catchers.
‘’It wasn’t anything that was a big deal,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not holding out for anything or disappointed or not wanting to stay here. Again, at the end of that is when you talk about it. I’m not worried about trying to extend anything right now. I’m worried more about this team in spring training now than 2015.’’
Skeptics might say Ventura has had a year to see what the Sox’ farm system is like and doesn’t see a promising future for the franchise. Or that, financially, he can raise his price if the Sox have a big year or two. Don’t forget, Ventura and his family have deep roots in Southern California, and you never know if the Los Angeles Dodgers will need a manager in a couple of years.
Ventura is not Jim Riggleman trying to force management’s hand. He made about $67 million during his playing days, so he’s not desperate to have this job.
“To Robin’s credit, he wants to make sure he’s the right guy for the job,’’ Hahn said.
“It’s a testament to how special he is with his approach to this position and the job at hand.’’
In a surprising move after Ozzie Guillen left, an inexperienced Ventura was signed to a three-year deal to replace Guillen, bringing a desired sense of calm to the clubhouse and front office.
“He got the best out of all of us, and you saw it with the rebound years some guys had with their comfort level with Robin and his staff,’’ pitcher Jake Peavy said. “I’m sure he’ll grow as far as game moves and stuff like that. He probably went through some stuff he may re-evaluate and do something different there, but as far as running the clubhouse and relationships with his guys, I can’t see how he can be better.’’
Hahn said the perception that Ventura took the job with designs on doing it for the short term is unfounded.
“If that’s the vibe people are taking, that’s inaccurate,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘My hope is that Robin is here for a long, long time.
“You can’t foresee the future, but I suspect when the time comes that there is a new manager, it’s that Robin decided personally he’s not wanting to continue or he’s not the right guy or the best guy to lead the White Sox at that time. My hope is that’s far into the future.’’
There’s no doubt that Ventura likes what he’s doing, and he knows he’s pretty good at it after a successful first year. He expects to be better at it this year. Asked if he envisioned himself managing a long time, he said, “Yeah, I don’t know about lifer.’’
‘‘You can see doing it longer,’’ he told Comcast SportsNet on Tuesday. ‘‘I think there’s also a point where it needs to be somebody else. I think you can either burn out or people stop listening to you, or that effect goes away. When that happens, then it’s time for somebody else to do it.”
NOTES: Jesse Crain will report to Team Canada for the World Baseball Classic on March 3. Alex Rios, who will play for Puerto Rico, reported early to Sox camp Wednesday.
† It cost Tyler Flowers two TV sets to get pitching coach Don Cooper’s No. 21 jersey. Cooper will wear 99 to honor the late Kevin Hickey.