Just a day after top choice Joe Girardi signed a four-year contract with the New York Yankees, the Cubs reportedly have a new front-runner for their current managerial vacancy.
According to Buster Olney and Pedro Gomez of ESPN, San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria appears to be the front-runner for the job, just hours after it was reported that the team is seeking permission to speak with Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez.
Renteria, 51, has served as the Padres’ bench coach for the last three seasons and is familiar with Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer, who served in the same capacity in San Diego prior to coming to Chicago with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.
Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago is reporting that Renteria could meet with the Cubs as early as next week to discuss the opportunity.
He gained more widespread praise for his work managing Team Mexico in last year’s World Baseball Classic. Despite his lack of big league managerial experience, Renteria is known around the league for being a sound teacher of fundamentals who works well with young players, something the Cubs have listed as a requirement for the position moving forward.
Renteria joined the Padres at the big league level in 2007, when he served as the first base coach. Prior to his joining San Diego’s big league staff he coached at Single-A Lake Elsinore in 2003 and managed the same club from 2006 to 2006. He was then promoted to manager with Triple-A Portland in 2007. He has also spent time with the Florida Marlins organization, managing for four seasons at Single-A Brevard County (1998), Single-A Kane County (1999) and Double-A Portland (2000-01). He was named Midwest League Manager of the Year after leading Kane County, which is now a Cubs affiliate, to a league-best 78-59 record in 1999.
He enjoyed a brief playing career, hitting .237 in 422 career at-bats spanning 184 career Major League games with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986), Seattle Mariners (1987-1988) and Marlins (1993-1994)