With Joe Maddon in for the Chicago Cubs, what about Rick Renteria?
Multiple sources are reporting the Chicago Cubs have, or are close to hiring two-time American League manager of the year Joe Maddon. So that beckons the question; what happens to Rick Renteria?
There’s no question that Renteria wasn’t the first choice. The Cubs made a strong push to hire Joe Girardi last year before offering the job to Renteria. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer wanted a manager with notoriety, someone with a level of success at the Major League level. Girardi fit what the organization was looking for. In the end, he chose to stay in New York, and Renteria would get the Cubs’ job.
Would Renteria have any interest in remaining in Chicago in some capacity? Maybe.
The hiring of Maddon is imminent. And if for some reason he wasn’t to get the job? How would you “welcome back” Renteria? You at this point have said, “Hey, you did well. But someone else was better. But we didn’t get them, so you’ll do.” So let’s just proceed with the notion he’ll be exiting Wrigley Field stage left.
According to Jon Heyman, the situation had become serious enough that Renteria was “made aware” of the Cubs interest in Maddon. So with that, is there any chance the Cubs would try to retain him in some fashion? Would he have any interest in remaining in Chicago? Maybe, and here’s why.
Just as there has been since the Maddon saga began, there are only two open managerial jobs. In Minnesota, and in Tampa Bay. So a buyout would mean he gets paid, but likely will not find employment, at least as a manager, in the Majors immediately. He wouldn’t stay on the field. That would be, just weird. Like your wife cheating on you with another man, and you’re a groomsman in the wedding. No. How about a front-office position?
Renteria would be a great fit as an Assistant to the GM. His background, which was part of the reason for his hiring would continue to be an asset. He knows the players within the organization, and would be a key piece to the scouting of Spanish speaking players. But it would require a contract extension, a raise, and possibly several more perks. You’re likely to be doling out $5 million or so a year to Maddon. Is it feasible to give Renteria a raise too? If the Cubs want to do right by Renteria, this may not be as far fetched as you think.
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The Twins are still searching, but according to an article in the Star Tribune, the process may be nearing an end. Would they have any interest in throwing Renteria in the mix? According to reports, he would be the most experienced of the candidates, which include Twins coach Paul Molitor, Red Sox bench coach Tom Lovullo, and Twins Single-A manager Doug Mientkiewicz. If the Twins are this close to finalizing their choice, Renteria may be too late to enter the running.
In Tampa Bay, Dave Martinez, who was Maddon’s right-hand man, is still under contract. He’s also interviewed for several managerial openings in the past few years, including the Cubs last season. He very likely could become the Rays new skipper. And the Rays would be an unlikely destination for Renteria. And to be honest, it would be an uncomfortable swap in my opinion.
There are always opportunities within the minor leagues, but he’s paid his dues. It would seem unlikely he would take a step back to go through that. It would essentially be starting from the bottom again.
He may decide to take a year off. It’s hard to know exactly what Renteria will feel following this. Many may say it’s just business, and in the end, it is. But it doesn’t mean that he isn’t hurt by the ordeal. He did a fine job with a Cubs team that didn’t offer him a lot to choose from. They competed, the core players improved, and the made strides throughout the year. It’s everything they asked of him. But in the end, it’s clear.
Renteria was never the best man for the job. He was simply the best available at the time. If the reports are to be believed, we wish you happy trails Ricky. It was fun while it lasted.