In My Words: Renteria reflects, looks ahead

In My Words: Renteria reflects, looks ahead

It's been an exciting year for us. Even though the record might not be what we want, we've come a long way. It is exciting to see guys like (Reynaldo) Lopez, (Lucas) Giolito, (Yoan) Moncada, (Nicky) Delmonico come up, and watch guys like Matt Davidson and Tim Anderson, who now are having their first full season under their belts. They continue to show they're capable of performing here. They're not afraid. They've shown they're ready to compete.

We have a pretty close-knit group. I don't know if we can take it any higher with the way they're jelling as people, as players. It's pretty exciting to watch. We're seeing a group of young men who are developing and owning an identity of what they want to become, and how they want to express that identity to the next generation of players who will be coming to the White Sox.

What a year for Jose Abreu! I've seen a tremendous amount of growth in him. He's already a grown man who has experienced many things in his life. But he continues to feel more and more comfortable in his own skin. He feels more and more comfortable talking to his teammates. During games, he will gather guys at the mound. He's taking a commanding role of settling guys down during a ballgame. It's really important. He's a huge part of who we are.

We're glad we're able to see some of the young starting pitchers we'll have next season with us, and some of the young players. We used the last month to look at and evaluate them. It's a better setting to draw some sort of conclusion as opposed to going into Spring Training and seeing them play there. This gives us a much truer barometer.

We've got a lot of players who are coming into their own. Avisail Garcia showed what he can do this year. We played good baseball the last three or four weeks. You hope that continues. There's excitement.

At the beginning of the year, we talked about the White Sox Way. The White Sox Way is just playing baseball the right way. It's hustling, it's making sure they prepare in a way that gives them a chance to have success between the lines. The biggest thing we've tried to instill is that their effort is consistent.

Avisail's two-run home run

They've been consistent in how they play the game, backing up bases, executing certain fundamentals. At the end of the day, it is a mindset, it is a belief, it is a trust that these things will give you positive outcomes.

I hear people tell me all the time how they are excited to see our effort. They see guys busting their butts coming out of the box. It makes me feel good that people are noticing these things.

When the talent and ability to play the game the way it is supposed to be played come together, then you have something pretty special. If you play good team baseball, you always have a chance to win ballgames. We're going to play team baseball as early and often as possible.

The message to fans is: Stay tuned. We're moving forward. Sure, we'll hit some bumps along the way. But if there's anything that can be said about the club's attitude, and what they'll continue to express to the new wave of players that are coming in, is that we'll give you guys a great effort. Hopefully, there will be more victories as we continue to move forward to what we believe will be be a championship.

Saying championship is a bold statement. But if you don't talk about it, how are you going to attain it? It's a goal you have to set.

As the season came to a close, even though we're a little exhausted, we talk about 200. Two-hundred days is what it takes for a championship season. In that sense, the season isn't over. It's over for us, but it won't be over for baseball until the end of October, maybe early November. As much as these guys can be proud of everything they've been doing, they need to know this isn't when we want it to end. Their minds always have to be looking forward. You have to be realistic, but you also need to set goals higher than what you think. If you want to play great baseball, be a great team, you need to set the standards very high. You might fall a little short, but then again you could get higher than you thought.

We should be excited. It's an exciting time for us as the Chicago White Sox. As these young guys continue to develop at the Major League level, we're going to be a fun club to watch in 2018.

Rick Renteria is the manager of the Chicago White Sox. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.