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Winter Meetings interview with Robin Ventura

Winter Meetings interview with Robin Ventura

Winter Meetings interview with Robin Ventura
Q. Who is your closer?
ROBIN VENTURA: I knew yesterday, when I talked to you, I knew who it was. But obviously, you know, right now you're going to wait and see how the rest of this week goes and figure it out from there.

Q. Do you know much about Addison Reed, who is the young guy that came up last year?
ROBIN VENTURA: Yeah, obviously we're going to, at this point, you're going in and getting it from within. So you're looking at some young kids that will be able to have a shot to do it and try and make it work. You feel like you have the talent there to do it and fill that slot. So you get rid of a guy that's a good player and you're hoping you get something that fills a need with a quality player.

Q. You talked about it's not -- you're going to take what you get. You're not going to have who you want to be here, I want this guy or that guy. Is it tougher starting to lose these guys instead of getting back the established veterans?
ROBIN VENTURA: I think a little bit. I think you would look at it on the outside and think that. But it's not like we are not going to have 25 guys, and they're going to be good players. We still have a good nucleus of guys, and I feel like they're going to have a better year this year than last year. What that is, nobody knows. But I know they are coming in motivated and ready to go.

Q. When you were a player, when you were a veteran player, when you heard the word rebuilding, did it make you cringe a bit?
ROBIN VENTURA: Retooling, I think is the same -- I think you can use that same word. When you're looking at who is still on the roster and the guys that you have, you know, I've been through the rebuilding and looking at our roster, it's not the same as what I went through as a player. But I still feel confident with what we have.

Q. Matt Thornton struggled in the closer role out of the gate. With a new manager, is it a clean slate with anybody?
ROBIN VENTURA: I still think he's a great pitcher and he'll be able to handle that. Year to year to me isn't what they did last year, is really last year. So I'm going to give them a clean slate to be able to obviously show that they can handle different things and have another shot at it.

Q. This whole experience of being with all the managers here at one time, what have you picked up out of it over the last couple of days now?
ROBIN VENTURA: You know, it's nice just to be able to talk with them and stories back and forth. Most of them I know anyway, from having played. So it's just nice to see them again and talk on a common level.

Q. With the closer situation, you obviously will be looking for one guy to step up. You don't want to get in one of those closer by committee things?
ROBIN VENTURA: No, if you have to, you know, it is a possibility, but I would rather have one guy. Even though this happened a few hours ago, it's not set in stone that now we have to find the guy. I think again you're going to look through the week and see what happens. And we're obviously trying to get talented players. We're getting younger players, but talent.

Q. Was it an idea that Buehrle could be gone maybe a guy like Carlos gets traded. We know Sergio is gone. White Sox fans say this is bumming me out. Is there a ray of hope that you can give them?
ROBIN VENTURA: I think for Mark, that's a situation, you know, that's a spot he's earned by what he's done. And he deserves the ability to look around and see what's out there. Trading guys away, you're not just letting them go, you're trying for get talent back, good talent that is either you're going to use this year or even the following year, but you're definitely motivated by getting a young talent back.

Q. Molina, will he get a chance? He's obviously still young, a Double-A guy, will he get a decent look in Spring Training?
ROBIN VENTURA: I'll get a good look at him. I can guarantee you that. We don't know quite yet by watching him if he's going to get that shot to be able to break camp. But obviously we'll be watching him close.

Q. I know the trade just happened, did you know anything about him before the trade happened?
ROBIN VENTURA: Who is that?

Q. Molina?
ROBIN VENTURA: No. And again, in my position I'm trusting what we had as our scouting department and the guys we have that do that job, you're trusting what you get back is going to be a good player.

Q. Today as a manager for you, any other days that now you have the personnel change to deal with
ROBIN VENTURA: A little bit. This is different, obviously getting asked questions about personnel and not having gone through a year yet, so it's not like I know all of them all that well. But, yeah, with the trade it's different because having gotten the job and then going forward you're expecting a guy like Sergio to be there and you can kind of put that over here. But when things start changing you're obviously -- you start looking down different avenues of what's there on the team.

Q. You said as a veteran player you went through both rebuilding or retooling. As you said, when you were going through that as a veteran player, was there a different feeling on your part as you started the season?
ROBIN VENTURA: Not really. You're still going out there trying to win games. As a player it's different because I guess you're more of a teacher, you're helping guys out, kind of coaching more than you are just playing. And I don't see that, that's what's different about it. I don't see that with our team. We have young guys, but they're not first-year guys.

Q. Anything you see with Adam Dunn that you could help him with for next year?
ROBIN VENTURA: I just want Adam not to think about baseball right now. I'd rather him just get away. He's been successful in the past. I don't look at that one year as that's going to define him. He's a motivated guy, ready to come back and prove the player that he is. And I'm not going to sit down with him and go over last year's video. We're going with what he comes in with this year.

Q. Any plans to play him in the field a little bit more?
ROBIN VENTURA: He'll probably get out in the field, I see that.

Q. Are you anticipating more players to be moved in the next day or two?
ROBIN VENTURA: You know, by this one, we probably weren't expecting, you would think so. But in doing that, you're going to have to get the right people. And it's not always that easy to get what you're looking for from the other side to be able to move them. It's a question mark, just like it was yesterday.

Q. Have you talked to Ozzie at all since you've been down here?
ROBIN VENTURA: I haven't seen him. I thought I heard him when I was walking down here.

Q. Do you want to?
ROBIN VENTURA: Yeah, I don't mind, I'll talk to him.

Q. What appealed to you most about managing?
ROBIN VENTURA: Well, one, it's the team, you know, I'm passionate about the White Sox and baseball and the city of Chicago. But the people that I'm working with, and that's important to me is that I know, you know, from Jerry to Kenny and everybody else in the front office, who I'm dealing with and who I'm talking to on a daily basis. And the opportunity is just a great challenge that I'm willing to take on.

Q. Kenny mentioned that maybe he doesn't trade a starter now, but we've all seen Kenny can sometimes turn on a dime. Are you thinking that those are your five guys that are in rotation?
ROBIN VENTURA: Yeah, but again like you, I didn't know about the Sergio one, until later. But he's -- there's a lot of stuff going on right now. And who knows, you know, really? But I do know that he's not going to just give these guys away for nobody. If you're going to trade them you're going to trade them for some quality talent and it would be a retooling, but you're trying to get them all in that same little window.

Q. With all those offers to all those different guys, is it shocking to see it from the management side to see how it works?
ROBIN VENTURA: Yeah, it's an eye opener to see it. As a player you're just sitting back and you don't know what is happening. I think for a player to come in this, in general, the Winter Meetings, is pretty crazy.

Q. How do you view the relationship from manager and front office when it comes to lineups and specific strategies?
ROBIN VENTURA: You know, I believe we're supposed to work together in putting the team together. I would like to see that, that we work together. And lineup is going to be more of the baseball staff that does that, the staff puts that together. So I will do that. And talking with our staff that's in uniform. But obviously Kenny will have input and ideas, too. But in the end that's what we think is best to try to win games.

Q. How much importance do you put on statistical analysis and probability in making decisions?
ROBIN VENTURA: I think everything goes into that, your gut and what you see with guys. I think in talking to players, of what they need and what you expect out of them, there's a lot that you can see in a guy's eyes and there's a lot that you can see on paper. So I think you use both of them.

Q. Brent was happy that you were coming over, learn from a great third baseman, have you talked to him?
ROBIN VENTURA: I have seen him. He actually lives out by me. He's a good, young player, and excited to see him, obviously in the future you get better and grow.

Q. Any aspect of your job you're not completely comfortable yet with and you think you will be by the end of Spring Training?
ROBIN VENTURA: There's a lot of stuff right now that you're kind of learning on the fly and doing different things. But that's what you signed up for. And I feel the ability to handle it and to do it. But there's a lot of things that I'm doing for the first time, as far as, you know, preparing for Spring Training.

Q. Is there a specific one or two things in Spring Training you're going to want to check out for yourself?
ROBIN VENTURA: As far as getting the plan together for what we're doing. As a staff we're confident of what we're going forward with and what we plan on putting in and doing. So it's not I'm not worried for me, as much, as getting that plan down and being ready to go when the first day shows up.

Q. Do you see yourself as a guy who grinds them pretty hard?
ROBIN VENTURA: Loud, crazy. I have principals of things I like and a policy of the way things should be done. It might not be as loud, but I'm very persistent with how I like to do things and the way I see it being done. I don't see that changing. I'm not going to necessarily be a loud person, but it will get done.

Q. You know Sox fans pretty well and there's a certain doom and gloom that they tend to jump towards. Are you concerned about that as an organization, especially if there's more pieces moved, how do you win these people back? They're not going to take a leap of faith. You guys would have to prove something first.
ROBIN VENTURA: I think that's going to have to happen. But I get what you're saying. You see the players that are there. Everybody would like to sign ten new guys to high contracts and everything else, as a fan base, to be more excited. But that's just not the way it's going. We're going to have to win them over by the way we play and putting up wins.

Q. Mike Matheny, do you know him and have you two talked about how comparable your circumstances are?
ROBIN VENTURA: Yeah, I did send him a text after he got his thing that I'm glad I took all the arrows for the first-time manager. No, he's a great guy. I've known him for a while. I have a lot of respect for Mike and what he's done in the game. Obviously I'm going to watch it from a far but wish him luck until we play.

Q. You talked about your passion for the White Sox in Chicago. Now, you played with other teams?
ROBIN VENTURA: Right.

Q. You weren't a lifer with the White Sox?
ROBIN VENTURA: Right.

Q. Why this continual
ROBIN VENTURA: Drafted by the White Sox. I saw the team turnaround. When I got called up we were, I think, 30 games out of first place my first year. So when you go through that kind of transformation, there's something there, I think when you go through your system and that's the way you grow up. But it's more, I think, you're in a city that on a certain hand nationally you have kind of the idea that it's a Cubs town. So there is a bit of -- I guess it's a chip or something else, but having gone to Oklahoma State, you have the same thing with Oklahoma. So there's that thing that you have to have passion and understand the position that you're in and the team that you're with and what it means to the people that come to the ballpark. And I've always felt that.

Q. Is there any similarity in direction from when you came up as a player to what it looks like, the direction the team might be going now with you as a manager?
ROBIN VENTURA: No, that was a little different. There's better players here now than at that time. That's why I say it's more, I guess, you would say it's more retooling than you would rebuilding. The other one was just a turnover.

Q. Should the White Sox -- any idea what your outfield would look like if everybody is healthy?
ROBIN VENTURA: Well, I think Carlos would be in there. You have De Aza, Viciedo, Adam, he'd play a little outfield, Rios playing in the outfield. You're just going to go with the guys getting it done, and be able to move them around. They can play different spots. Those are the guys who will be playing out there. I'm not going to put Paul out there.

Q. I think you said earlier, too, that something about Adam maybe playing out in the field a little bit more. Is that something that's being considered?
ROBIN VENTURA: Yeah, absolutely. I think for him playing in the National League for so long and the DH is a different -- it's a different position. And it's a position. It's just not a throw a guy over there and it's going to be easy. I would like to see him just -- I think there's some guys that play better by being on the field and get a better feel of the game and maybe at bats by just being on the field. If that's something that he would want to do I would entertain that, I would promote it.

Q. Is it an organizational thought or is that something from you?
ROBIN VENTURA: A little of both, I guess. But I've seen it with Jason Giambi in New York, that he'd like to be on the field and part of the action, and I get it. And times in the past I've DHed I didn't really like it, because you just -- it's just a different position. And I get it. So if he's wanting to do that I can entertain that.

Q. Is that also designed because he is not getting any younger, he's 37 next year?
ROBIN VENTURA: Yeah, it would be a way to get Paul days off, and have a guy get in there that he can see it and plan for it and see what's there. Yeah, I mean it would free up some flexibility to move guys around a little bit.

Q. You mentioned De Aza, do you think it's his time, to step up and play every day?
ROBIN VENTURA: You would hope so. You would expect him to have a good spring and go from there, but, you know, he is of an age that you expect him to make a move right now.

Q. Should the White Sox be in the playoffs next year? Are we really looking at 13 and 14?
ROBIN VENTURA: I mean, logically you're looking at it, when you're moving pieces, you're losing a Buehrle, you're probably saying, no. Is it possible? Yeah. Anything's possible. But by the retooling that you're doing, you are looking for the future, you're guarding that future.

Q. What's it going to be like managing against Bobby Valentine?
ROBIN VENTURA: It will be fine. I think managing against people -- I'm not worried about the other manager. If we were both having to go hit, it would be something. But -- or run the bases. But managing, I've been around him. He's a great manager. He'll do fine in Boston. I kind of worry about my guys and what we're doing.

Q. What did you learn from him during your time with the Mets?
ROBIN VENTURA: He's a task master. I think he looks at every part of the game. He's very creative, positive. There's a lot of things that he did. In my career, you take things from guys that you've played for. And there will be things that I do that are similar to what he does, because I believe in a lot of the same things he does.

Q. Have you talked to him at all since you got the job?
ROBIN VENTURA: I did see him here, so that was the first time.
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