The top five stories of 2011 for the White Sox

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The top five stories of 2011 for the White Sox

Earlier this week, MLB.com's Scott Merkin ran down his top five franchise-changing developments from the 2011, with his list going as follows:

5. Mark Buehrle leaving
4. Rebuilding or retooling?
3. Dunn's struggles
2. Ozzie and some of the coaching staff leaving
1. Ventura returning

Check out the article for the explanations. My list differs from Scott's -- and hey, your list may differ from mine. Let us know in the comments what your top five would be if you disagree with anything.

5. White Sox extend Danks

This folds into the "rebuilding or retooling" bullet point, although it's nowhere near a rebuild. The Danks extension, for now, confirmed that.

4. Buehrle departs for Miami

The next four points are all intertwined, with the likelihood of Nos. 2-4 happening low without No. 1 on the list. Buehrle's departure was the product of...

3. Ozzie departs for Miami

...Ozzie Guillen being there and the White Sox neither the funds nor room in the starting rotation to keep him. And Ozzie Guillen leaving for Miami opened the door for...

2. Ventura's surprising hire

...nobody saw the Ventura hire coming outside of those in the White Sox front office, and it'll go down as one of the more interesting -- that could mean good or bad -- hires in White Sox history. But at the root of all this great change:

1. The unexpected downturns of Dunn and Rios

The White Sox had plenty of problems outside of this pair, but because both Adam Dunn and Alex Rios earned 12 million last season, they received much of the attention for the team's disappointing season.

The progression is this: If Dunn and Rios played near their 2010 levels to begin the 2011 season, perhaps the White Sox don't lose 17 of 21 games in April and early May. Even if the Sox went 10-11 in that stretch, they would've emerged above .500 -- a mark they didn't reach until July 2. By then, attendance lagged and the Sox had to deal away Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen at the deadline to free up some money.

Over the course of 2011, had Dunn and Rios each been three-win players (as they were in 2010), they would've netted the Sox about nine more wins, per FanGraphs' WAR. Nine wins puts the Sox at 88 on the season, firmly in playoff contention if not for the AL Central, for the AL Wild Card.

Maybe Buehrle still goes. Guillen, too, perhaps, still leaves with the pull of Miami too strong. But the chances that both franchise-altering moves happen would have to be lowered with the Sox contending for the playoffs through the end of the season, right?

For the record, these aren't the kind of downturns that you can predict. Rios, maybe -- he struggled in the second half of 2010, at least -- but not Dunn. So don't jump to blame Kenny Williams for this. It's not his fault.

Source: White Sox have not decided on Robin Ventura's status for 2017

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USA Today Sports Images

Source: White Sox have not decided on Robin Ventura's status for 2017

Contradicting an earlier report from USA Today, CSN White Sox Insider Dan Hayes is reporting that the White Sox have not decided whether or not to retain manager Robin Ventura in 2017.

Stay with CSNChicago.com throughout the day for more information on this developing story.

Report: White Sox will retain Robin Ventura as manager if he wants to return in 2017

Report: White Sox will retain Robin Ventura as manager if he wants to return in 2017

Robin Ventura has a job waiting for him next season if he wants it.

According to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale, the White Sox have privately offered Ventura the managerial position in 2017.

Although nothing has been made official, general manager Rick Hahn reiterated earlier this month that he doesn’t plan to discuss the status of Ventura or any of his coaches until after the season.

Ventura is in his final year of a five-year contract, which he signed in 2012.

The White Sox (76-81) have to win all five of their remaining games to avoid their fourth straight losing season under Ventura.

His only winning season came in his first year on the job, going 85-77, but the White Sox failed to reach the postseason.

Ventura is 373-432 as White Sox manager.