With Ventura on board is Thomas next?

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
8:36
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- So if Robin Ventura can wind up as White Sox manager, then why not Frank Thomas for hitting coach?

As curious as that sounds, and as interested as Thomas sounded in a coaching job this summer when his statue was dedicated on the left field concourse, his appointment doesn’t seem to be an ideal fit just yet.

There are a few reasons why Thomas might not be Ventura’s top option as a hitting coach. The first of which might sound odd enough, but Thomas lacks coaching experience.

That’s a nearly laughable concept considering that Ventura has done nothing more that work in the White Sox’s minor league system for a year, but the intention was that he would be groomed as an instructor for multiple years before possibly one day becoming a major-league coach or manager.

That timetable was hurried once Ozzie Guillen was let out of his contract two days before the season ended.

Thomas hasn’t even started that grooming process which means there is no vision in place for him to become an instructor at some point down the road.

There is also the issue of the former feud between Thomas and general manager Kenny Williams. Those issues have seemingly been resolved, but now that Williams and Guillen are finally getting a breather from their well-documented differences, does Williams want to run the risk of that happening again?

Thomas still sounds open to the idea of one day coaching on the major-league level, but it doesn’t seem as if his day is right around the corner. But if somebody said Thursday morning that Ventura was about to be the White Sox’s manager, would it have sounded completely logical?

As for filling out the major role on Ventura’s staff, it is possible the White Sox could announce a bench coach as early as Friday. Without managerial experience, Ventura is expected to lean heavily on his right-hand man.

Williams seemed to let it slip that director of player development Buddy Bell will be there for Ventura, suggesting that the former manager would be close by if Ventura needs him. But Williams backtracked immediately saying that Bell will be close by because he’s a mainstay in the organization.

Along with a hitting coach and a bench coach, Ventura also must hire a third-base coach since Jeff Cox does not figure to return.

Having a well-respected former player take over at manager with little experience isn’t a recipe for disaster. The Arizona Diamondbacks were pretty pleased with the job Kirk Gibson did this season.

But even Gibson will tell you that the right set of coaches makes the difference.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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BA LEADER
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