Theoís Last Hire; Jack Zís Last Stand
Cubs hire Rick Renteria
I’m not particularly high on managers who receive rave reviews before the fact. Many times when the media is saying what a “great” choice a team has made, there’s either an agenda behind it or they’re receiving whispers from insiders lauding the move without any real clue as to how it’s going to go.
Renteria is getting that treatment now. It’s almost as if the first manager that Cubs team president Theo Epstein hired, Dale Sveum, has been blotted out of existence like he didn’t lose almost 200 games in two seasons and have the young players stagnate or backslide under his watch.
Considering the options the Cubs were seriously considering, Renteria is as good as any. They felt it was important to have someone who was bilingual to try and get through to their young Spanish-speaking players like Starlin Castro and Jorge Soler. They wanted someone with experience as a manager and Renteria was a minor league manager for the Marlins and Padres for eight years from High A to Triple A. He played in the Majors with 456 at bats spread out over five seasons with the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins. He spent 14 years in the minors and in Mexico, so you know he’s dedicated to the game. He’s been a big league coach with the Padres for six years. He certainly has the resume. But that doesn’t mean he’ll succeed.
Epstein arrived in Chicago with great fanfare, expectations and free rein when he was hired from the Red Sox. That he was abandoning a ship that he helped sink in Boston didn’t quash any of his perceived brilliance that stemmed from being the GM of the Red Sox when they broke “The Curse of the Bambino” with a World Series win in 2004 and won another title three years later. He was allowed to do whatever he wanted with the owners the Ricketts family giving him the room and Larry Luchinno-less atmosphere he lacked in Boston. So far, his tenure is high on media lust at the talent he’s stocked the system with and short on results.
There was a head tilted, mouth twisted, “I don’t knowwww” air of reluctance on the part of Tom Ricketts when Epstein’s list of preferred candidates to replace Sveum consisted of the yawn-worthy A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta and Renteria. It expanded to Eric Wedge at the behest of Ricketts. That was a signal that Ricketts wanted someone with more name recognition and at least some history of success. It was also a sign that Epstein wasn’t the king of all he surveys in Chicago as was initially believed.