Now that Robin Ventura has retired as a player, he is the manager of the Chicago White Sox.
In his first season, there will be some good and bad things revealed about him as a manager. This season will prove to be a better one than last year for the White Sox, but there will still be lots of room for improvement.
Notice I did not say how much better than a 81-81 finish this year, but I do believe that the White Sox will be able to win at least two more games this year than last.
Eduardo Escobar brings high potential to this team, and if Escobar can have a monster rookie season, look for him to possibly win several games for the White Sox himself.
The addition of Kosuke Fukudome is also another player poised for a big breakout year. If both Fukudome and Escobar can make something happen this year, the White Sox could be in for a good bounce back.
With enough young emerging rookies and stars on this White Sox team, Ventura should shift his focus to building up a dominant rotation behind John Danks.
With a 4.10 team ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 2011, the White Sox really need to work on lowering those numbers. Without solid pitching—and unless you are the Yankees—it will be hard to win a lot of games.
Possibly trading away busts like Alex Rios or Adam Dunn, Ventura will try to land a cornerstone player to build his team around—someone like Shaun Marcum or Andre Ethier.
If Ventura can pull something like this off, the White Sox will add some much needed leadership and skills to the team base.
I know this is not something attainable during his first year, but after a good rebuilding year in 2012, the White Sox should be able to make a solid push for the playoffs in 2013.
If Ventura does his job as a manager successfully this year, the White Sox can become the team to beat out of the West, even with the Tigers and Verlander still there.