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Ventura's inner calm sending mixed signals

12/5/2011

DALLAS -- If "extremely laid back" is a managerial style, then perhaps that’s what Robin Ventura will bring to the Chicago White Sox.

Ever since he was hired as White Sox manager in November, Ventura has been pressed for the style of play he prefers. He continues to say the roster will dictate things but he clearly doesn’t know what his roster will be at this point.

“I think it’s more for the spring,” Ventura said about a style of play. “As far as just the way you’re going to play, you obviously go by what your roster is. You can’t sit there and say we’re going to steal 500 bases if you don’t have the people to do it.”

It’s starting to lead to the belief that the entire White Sox roster is in flux, not just the oft-mentioned candidates to be traded like Carlos Quentin, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Matt Thornton.

General manager Kenny Williams has always had a hunger for power hitters, but perhaps some speed at the top of the order is what he wants now. A contact hitter or two could be the desire, or maybe a defensive-minded outfield.

Not only has Ventura declined to talk about a style of play as it pertains to the players the White Sox do have under contract, he has yet to even reach out to any of those players.

That comes in stark contrast to new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who admitted at the winter meetings on Monday that he has reached out to just about every player on Boston’s roster. Keep in mind that Valentine has been the Red Sox manager for all of five days.

Of course, nobody is going to confuse Ventura’s personality with Valentine’s, or Ozzie Guillen’s for that matter. Part of Ventura’s appeal was his inner calm, which is the opposite of the high-energy Guillen. When making a change, as the White Sox did at manager, one popular strategy is to go with the opposite of what you just had.

But somehow Ventura seems too calm, sending signals that there is more to it than the fact that he doesn’t see a reason to rush into relationships with his players.

“It will be more clear after we get through this week and being able to talk to guys and see how they’re doing and get ready for spring training,” Ventura said.

Yeah, no reason to call guys who aren’t even going to be part of the mix.

Everybody knew the White Sox were set to make some changes. There is every reason to think those changes could be even more plentiful than first believed.