The Rick Renteria Era Has Come To An End

In a somewhat shocking development, the White Sox announced this morning that they have parted ways with manager Rick Renteria.  The status of the rest of the coaching staff will be determined in conjunction with the new manager, though pitching coach Don Cooper is also expected to move on.  Renteria originally joined the White Sox following the 2015 season as bench coach and was named the team’s 40th manager, replacing Robin Ventura, following the 2016 season.

General Manager Rick Hahn said that the ideal candidate to replace Renteria will have recent post-season experience with a championship organization.  Interestingly enough, two such managers, A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, will be coming off their year-long suspensions following the completion of the World Series.  Both are thought to be on the shortlist for the opening in Detroit, though I’d be surprised if Cora doesn’t end up back with the Red Sox.  One name not in the mix is former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who was told by owner Jerry Reinsdorf that he would not be considered.

In some ways, this move reminds me of one made by another Reinsdorf team back in the summer of 1989.  After reaching the Eastern Conference finals and losing to the Pistons, the Bulls fired coach Doug Collins, saying that while he had gotten the team from point A to point B, he wasn’t the right man to get them to point C.  If this move turns out half as well for the White Sox, everyone involved will be ecstatic.


#49 – Matt Thornton

Name: Matt Thornton

Rank: 49

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 2006-2013

Matt Thornton was acquired by the White Sox from the Mariners towards the end of spring training in 2006 in exchange for Joe Borchard.  Thornton moved in to the bullpen and, working with pitching coach Don Cooper, started to harness the potential that was in his left arm.  He finished the 2006 season with a 5-3 record and a 3.33 ERA in 63 appearances.

2007 was a down year for the White Sox, and Thornton was no exception.  In 68 appearances, his ERA skyrocketed to 4.79.

Thornton, and the White Sox, bounced back in 2008.  He finished the regular season with a 5-3 record and a 2.67 ERA in 74 appearances.  He made 3 appearances in the ALDS, throwing 3 and 1/3 scoreless innings as the White Sox fell to the Rays in 4 games.

2009 saw Thornton continue to be successful in the bullpen.  He finished the year 6-3 and notched his second straight sub-3.00 ERA while appearing in 70 games.

Thornton earned his first All Star nod in 2010, despite being a set-up man.  In only 61 appearances, his lowest total since joining the White Sox, he finished 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA.

In 2011, Thornton started to show some chinks in the armor.  His ERA rose above 3.00 for the first time since 2007, rising to 3.32, and he finished the year with a 2-5 record in 62 appearances.  He was given the opportunity to close, but 4 straight blown saves between April 6 and 13 moved him back to the set-up role.

2012 was more of the same for Thornton.  His ERA rose again, to 3.46, and his record dropped to 4-10 in 74 appearances, surpassing Bobby Thigpen for the team record in career relief outings.  On April 11, he made Travis Hafner the 500th strikeout victim of his career.

Thornton went winless for the White Sox in 2013, and again saw his ERA go up, now to 3.86.  He made 40 appearances before July 12, when he was traded to the White Sox for minor leaguer Brandon Jacobs.

Thornton’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were: Continue reading →

The Sell-Off Begins

matt-thorntonThe towel was officially thrown in last night as rookie general manager Rick Hahn began the dismantling of the very disappointing 2013 Chicago White Sox by trading veteran relief pitcher Matt Thornton to the Red Sox in exchange for minor leaguer Brandon Jacobs, a 2009 draft pick described as “toolsy”, but not considered a significant prospect.  Thornton had been the longest tenured member of the White Sox not named Paul Konerko, joining the team during spring training in 2006 in a trade with the Mariners for first round bust Joe Borchard.

Under the tutelage of pitching coach Don Cooper, Thornton found a home in the White Sox bullpen, eventually becoming their all-time leader in pitching appearances with 512.  The high point came in 2010, when Thornton was selected to represent the White Sox at the All-Star game, a rarity for a set-up man.  The only real knocks against Thornton were his inability to close, which he was asked to do occassionally when Bobby Jenks would go down with an injury, and his inability to consistently rely on a pitch other than his fastball, which has been his downfall more recently as his velocity has started to dip with age.

Personally, I have seen 1131 pitchers take the mound in games that I have attended, and Thornton leads them all in appearances, with his closest active competition 46 games behind.  It will be strange to not have him in the White Sox bullpen anymore, but all things must come to an end and, given his salary and the state of this year’s squad, it was time for him to move on.

Thornton’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were: Continue reading →

#383 – Andy Sisco

Name: Andy Sisco

Rank: 383

Position: P

Year With White Sox: 2007

Kenny Williams had a plan for the bullpen in 2007, power arms that had struggled in previous major league assignments.  The hope was that, under the tutelage of pitching coach Don Cooper, the young arms could be harnessed and would give the Sox one of the top bullpens in the league.  As you can probably guess, things did not work out as expected, especially for Andy Sisco.

Sisco was acquired in December of 2006 from the Royals for super-sub Ross Gload.  Sisco had a 7.10 ERA with the Royals in 2006, and despite the best efforts of Cooper and the rest of the Sox coaching staff, that rose to 8.36 in his 19 games before being shuffled back to Charlotte at the end of May.  Following the season, he was granted free agency, and he hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since.

Sisco’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were: Continue reading →