After a 96-loss season, Chicago Cubs skipper Dale Sveum was axed by the front office, in favor of a manager who is yet-to-be-determined. However, despite 99 losses, his counterpart on the South Side, Robin Ventura, has remained virtually unscathed by a terrible season, leaving me to ask one question: Why?
Finishing 30 games back of the American League Central Division champion Detroit, Ventura’s squad put together the worst season in White Sox history, dating back to a 56-106 record 43 years ago, in 1970.
Adam Dunn hit home runs, as usual, but also struck out almost 200 times, hitting just over .200 in 150-plus games. Paul Konerko had the worst season of his career, hitting a career-low 12 home runs and driving in just 52 runs – leaving a major hole in the middle of the White Sox lineup.
Midseason trades of outfielder Alex Rios and starting pitcher Jake Peavy were also felt by the club, but no noticeable pieces stepped up to fill the void.
There were several players who had respectable years. Alexei Ramirez bounced back with a .284 mark to go along with six homers and 48 RBIs, and the outfielder duo of Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo also had solid campaigns, with 17 homers & 62 RBIs and 14 home runs and 56 RBIs, respectively.
Pitching was perhaps the single-largest issue for the White Sox. Chris Sale continued his emergence as one of the game’s top starters, going 11-14 with a 3.07 earned run average. Apart from Sale, however, an injury to Gavin Floyd was a major factor and Jon Danks struggled mightily, going 4-14 with a 4.75 ERA.
Next season, things should improve with the White Sox – key word – should. With Floyd healthy, and some type of bounce back from Floyd, the rotation will be much more solid, and the addition of Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu will be a make-or-break move for the offense.
What it comes down to it simple. Robin Ventura needs to get more production out of the players he has on the roster. If he doesn’t next season might be his last at the helm in Chicago.