Rick Renteria defends his daily lineup construction: 'I'm going to do what I think I need to do with the guys I have'

Vinnie Duber
NBC Sports Chicago

Rick Renteria might not be on Twitter, but apparently that hasn't stopped him from hearing the complaints and critiques about his daily lineup construction.

During another frustrating season featuring more losses than wins and heading toward the franchise's 11th straight October without playoff baseball, Renteria's lineups have been an easy target for critics. While Leury Garcia has been a reasonably productive mainstay in the leadoff spot and Jose Abreu is entrenched in the No. 3 spot, the rest of the team has bounced around up and down the batting order.

Cherry picking a few notable examples, Tim Anderson - who's boasted one of the highest batting averages in the American League throughout this breakout season - has spent nearly as much time batting seventh as he has batting second. Power-hitting rookie Eloy Jimenez has spent most of his time in the fifth and sixth spots in the lineup, with fewer at-bats in the run-producing cleanup spot than Yonder Alonso, Welington Castillo and Jon Jay, three players who have struggled swinging the bat this season and likely have no place in the team's plans past the end of the 2019 season. (Alonso, obviously, was released months ago.)

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Those decisions have had many fans scratching their heads throughout the season, and Renteria seems to be aware of the complaints, enough at least to get more animated than usual when asked about the reasoning behind his lineups during his pregame media session with reporters Tuesday in Minnesota.

"A lot of it has to be trust," he told reporters, including an NBC Sports Chicago camera, at Target Field. "Most people want to go through and just (have me make) statistically based decisions. OK, I'm not that guy. I trust myself and the things I do. I think there's a balance.

"I don't discount numbers. Never have, never will. But I'm a balance guy. I'm not going to appeal to the sabermetrician on a daily basis. Never will, never want to. Not my intent. If they don't like it, I don't really give a shit.

"I do things because I think it's the right thing for me to do. I know everybody has their opinion. Maybe it puts me on the outs. That's fine. But I'm going to do what I think I need to do with the guys I have.

"I know my guys. I know what they're capable of doing. It may not always work out. I can't defend something I can't quantify because everybody wants history behind it. But you can't develop history unless you allow an opportunity for an individual to be put in a particular situation for an extended period of time."

An interesting response from the skipper, who all fans must remember can only write lineups featuring the players he has at his disposal. A year from now, when more top-ranked prospects and possible outside additions are on the White Sox roster, Renteria's lineups will surely look much different. And the White Sox playing winning baseball would figure to back up any decision he makes more than the White Sox playing losing baseball has done in recent seasons.

But it also doesn't take a sabermetrician to know that the Castillos and Alonsos and Jays of the world aren't having productive enough seasons to warrant placement in a run-producing spot in the order, either.

It's a philosophical argument, and Renteria's offering up his philosophy. It wouldn't shock if that philosophy looks a lot better once the roster looks a lot better. Until then, fans might be left with more complaints and critiques.

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Rick Renteria defends his daily lineup construction: 'I'm going to do what I think I need to do with the guys I have' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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