Steverson, Sparks out as White Sox hitting coaches
Meeting with the media for the final time in the regular season last Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Rick Renteria was the right manager moving forward.
"Obviously, the history and teaching and communicating and holding guys accountable is very important now," Hahn said. "But even at the time we hired him, we felt he had the ability to not only set the right winning culture but to put guys in the best position to win.
"His ability to communicate with all 25 or 26 guys on a daily basis, to know where they're at, to know what they're capable of doing and putting them in the best position, makes us fairly confident that once that roster is deep enough and strong enough that he's going to be able to maximize the win potential with that roster when the time comes."
When asked about Renteria's coaching staff, Hahn said more time was needed before any decisions were made.
That time came Wednesday, and the Sox announced they've "parted ways" with hitting coach Todd Steverson. Assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks was also relieved of his duties.
A former first-base coach with the Athletics and minor-league hitting coach and coordinator with Oakland, Steverson just finished his sixth season as the White Sox's hitting coach.
To his credit, Steverson helped develop Tim Anderson into this year's American League batting champion, he helped Yoan Moncada blossom into a dangerous all-around hitter and he helped Eloy Jimenez grow as a rookie this season.
But when talking to the media late last week, Hahn didn't mute his feelings about the Sox's offense as a whole.
"I'm guessing most every team will tell you they want to get on base more," Hahn said. "That's something we need to improve upon. It's been a priority. This isn't news, guys know that. You have a guy like Timmy who can do damage in and around the zone. You don't really want to take that away from him so we're not saying, 'Hey, Tim Anderson needs to walk more.'
"But you want to make sure everyone is swinging at pitches they can do damage on and not necessarily expanding beyond what they're capable of doing."
The White Sox struck out a major-league record 1,594 times in 2018. They also struck out 1,594 times this season, the sixth-highest total in baseball.
The Sox were last in the majors with 378 walks this year and 23rd overall with a .314 on-base percentage.
Looking ahead to the White Sox's new hitting coach, Frank Menechino is an obvious candidate.
Drafted by the Sox on the 45th round in 1993, Menechino was Class AAA Charlotte's hitting coach this season. He was with the Sox's major-league staff in September.
Menechino was a hitting coach with the Marlins for five seasons.