The Chicago White Sox have gone just 148-176 in two years under manager Robin Ventura, but that didn't stop the front office and the 46-year-old from agreeing to a multiyear extension, according to the White Sox's official Twitter account.
Ventura signed a three-year contract prior to the 2012 season, per Baseball Prospectus, so he was scheduled to hit the open market following the 2014 campaign. Executive vice president Ken Williams ensured it wouldn't be an issue, however.
Hiring Ventura was a controversial decision considering he had no previous managerial experience. It looked like the White Sox had struck gold, though, as Ventura led Chicago to a surprising 85-77 mark in 2012 and finished third in the American League Manager of the Year voting.
Things quickly went south on the "South Side" in 2013, as the White Sox finished 63-99, which was the second-worst record in the AL.
That regression has caused many to question the White Sox's decision to extend Ventura, including Tom Musick of the Northwest Herald.
Ventura's extension is also interesting since he appears to have changed his stance. Back in September, Ventura seemed content to ride out his three-year contract before discussing a possible new deal, according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
I'd like to fulfill what I'm doing, and when we get done with three (years), (general manager) Rick (Hahn) and I will talk, and I'm sure (chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) will be in there. If they want me to do this, I would like to do it. Both sides have to be in agreement for that to happen, but the way I got the job, it's fair that at the end of three you can look at it again and see if they still think I'm the right guy to do it.
The White Sox are clearly confident in Ventura's ability to lead the team in the right direction, and it seems as though Ventura is comfortable in his current position.
Ventura spent the first decade of his 16-year playing career with the White Sox, and while it remains to be seen if his managerial career will be as long and prosperous, he will have every opportunity to succeed.
Making a marked improvement in 2014 won't be easy after the AL Central rival Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians both made the playoffs in 2013. Also, the Kansas City Royals are improving quickly, so Ventura will have his hands full in terms of reversing Chicago's fortunes.
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