Reports Pointing Toward Rick Renteria Being the Cubs Next Skipper

If the timeframe reported on Monday night was correct, the Cubs’ front office should find out at some point on Wednesday if Boston will grant them permission to interview Torey Lovullo for their managerial opening. The decision made by the Red Sox ownership to deny Lovullo a shot at a big league skipper’s job raised a lot of questions about Boston’s organization. And while the Sox are sticking to the agreement reached by both teams more than two years ago, the overall public perception of the Red Sox took quite a hit on Tuesday.

Many are expecting the Cubs to name Rick Renteria as their new manager in the next few days. Renteria has long been thought as the frontrunner for the job and it maybe just a matter of time before an official announcement is made. The Cubs’ front office has been very quiet throughout the process and has not tipped their hand.

Jon Heyman and Bruce Levine were among those that reported on Tuesday the Cubs are in the final stage of the skipper search and are focusing on Rick Renteria.

The Mariners named Lloyd McClendon as the successor to Eric Wedge on Tuesday making the Cubs the only team in the majors without a manager.

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija spent a little time on the David Kaplan Show (720 WGN) Tuesday night. Samardzija talked about his future with the Cubs and the trade rumors that have already surfaced this off-season.

Samardzija does not pay attention to all of the rumors and wants to stay, and win, with the Cubs. Samardzija is looking forward to starting his off-season program and will split time between his home and Arizona this winter.

As for signing a long term contract, for Samardzija it is all about winning and playing in October. Samardzija said, “I think the only thing with me signing a contract is winning ballgames and competing and playing in October. That’s it. This game, a lot of other things get talked about, but when you talk about stability and this and that, let’s be honest. We play baseball, so we travel a lot regardless. Necessarily where you’re playing isn’t going to be where you are all the time. Teams change, things change. And money’s always going to be there if you do your job and you do it how you’re supposed to do it, you’re a leader and you’re a professional. Those two things are null and void. It’s about winning. Period. It’s about being on a team that wins. Obviously that’s what this organization wants to do. There’s no reason why that can’t be the Cubs. And that’s what I’ve been saying this whole time. This is where I want to be. I grew up here. For me to say I want to be somewhere else is ridiculous. That’s not the case, I want it to happen here, and it needs to happen here. It’s about that time. I think everybody wants it and I think everyone is dying for it just as bad as I am.

On remaining in Chicago: “This is where I want to be. And the truth of the matter is I’ve got two years of arbitration left. That’s a lot of time to prove to myself and to everybody that we can win here. And that’s what I’m banking on. We’ve still got some time left to get this done, and I don’t everything is cut in stone that it needs to be now, it needs to be next month or this or that. As long as both sides in agreement, it’s what I want and they want that’s important, then that’s what it’s all about for me. As long as we’re on the same page, then you’re happy with what happens and you’re happy with the outcome.

As for the rumor the Cubs and Diamondbacks have restarted conversations about Samardzija this winter, a Tribune’s source downplayed those talks and indicated the two teams have not spoken about Samardzija since last July.

Major League Free Agents

Jon Heyman released predictions on what the top 65 players on the market could be looking at making through free agency. Heyman spoke with an unbiased agent and an unbiased GM and posted their predictions, along with his own.

Here is what the free agents the Cubs have been linked to might be looking at in terms of a contract and what three of the Cubs’ free agents could sign for this off-season.

  • Jacoby Ellsbury – Agent: 7 years, $146 million; GM: 6 years, $100 million; Heyman: 7 years, $147 million
  • Masahiro Tanaka – Agent: $125 million, $60M posting fee, 6 years, $65M contract; GM: $150 million, $75M posting fee, 6 years, $75M contract; Heyman: $140 million, $70M posting fee, 7 years, $70M contract
  • Shin-Soo Choo – Agent: 6 years, $110 million; GM: 6 years, $110 million; Heyman: 6 years, $120 million
  • Matt Garza – Agent: 4 years, $66 million; GM: 5 years, $85 million; Heyman: 5 years, $85 million
  • Brian McCann – Agent: 5 years, $75 million; GM: 5 years, $80 million; Heyman: 5 years, $80 million
  • Bronson Arroyo – Agent: 3 years, $32 million; GM: 3 years, $30 million; Heyman: 3 years, $35 million
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Agent: 3 years, $29 million; GM: 3 years, $27.5 million; Heyman: 3 years, $30 million
  • Dioner Navarro – Agent: 2 years, $6.2 million; GM: 1 year, $5 million; Heyman: 2 years, $10 million
  • Scott Baker – Agent: 1 year, $4 million; GM: 1 year, $8 million; Heyman: 1 year, $6 million
  • Kevin Gregg – Agent: 1 year, $3.75 million; GM: 1 year, $2 million; Heyman: 1 year, $4 million

Full Report from Jon Heyman

Minor League Free Agents

Baseball America compiled a list of the 550 minor league players that have elected for free agency and are free to sign with another organization. 17 players that were part of the Cubs’ system this past season can choose to sign with a new team or re-sign with the Cubs.

Alex Burnett (RHP), Yeiper Castillo (RHP), Jaye Chapman (RHP), Johermyn Chavez (RHP), Rafael Dolis (RHP), Zach Putnam (RHP), Henry Rodriguez (RHP), Casey Weathers (RHP), Jeffrey Antigua (LHP), Kyler Burke (LHP), Nathan Maldonado (C), Brad Nelson (1B), Nate Samson (2B), Edwin Maysonet (IF), Tim Torres (IF/OF), Cole Gillespie (OF) and Ty Wright (OF) are no longer bound to the Cubs by contract renewals.

Former Cubs that also elected free agency include: Shawn Camp (RHP), Michael Brenly (C), Jake Fox (1B), Brad Snyder (OF), Ryan Rowland-Smith (LHP), Tony Thomas (IF), Jason Berken (RHP), Nate Spears (IF), Sean Gallagher (RHP), Xavier Nady (OF/1B), Michael Burgess (OF), Max Ramirez (C), Dontrelle Willis (LHP), Jay Jackson (RHP), Jose Ceda (RHP), Frankie De La Cruz (RHP), Cory Wade (RHP), Corey Patterson (OF), Andrew Carpenter (RHP), Mike MacDougal (RHP), Matt Tolbert (IF), Andres Blanco (IF), Russ Canzler (IF), Chris Robinson (C), Scott Moore (IF/OF), Jason Jaramillo (C), Mike Fontenot (IF), Jake Brigham (RHP), Brendan Harris (IF)

News and Notes

Jesse Sanchez reported another catcher could be hitting the free agent market. According to Sanchez, approximately 20 teams were on hand at a showcase in Mexico that featured Cuban catcher Yenier Bello. MLB has declared Bello a free agent but he has not been cleared by the OFAC yet. Bello cannot reach an agreement with a big league team until he receives the unblocking license from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Bello’s representatives are in the process of finalizing his paperwork. With the lack of catching in the system, could the Cubs be interested in Yenier Bello? The 28-year old hit .274 with 13 home runs in 2011, the last season he played in Cuba.

Speaking of catchers, former Cubs’ backstop Geovany Soto re-signed with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. Soto received a one-year, $3.05 million contract that includes an incentives package. Soto’s contract should have an impact on what Dioner Navarro receives this winter.

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  • Tony_Hall

    Jesse Rogers said it best.

    “The situation appears to be in a gray area in regards to the agreement between the clubs from 2011, which means it’s possible the Commissioner’s office might have to get involved, if it hasn’t already.”

    “Red Sox ownership could be playing a dangerous game if they don’t allow Lovullo to interview with the Cubs. Boston didn’t have a problem hiring manager John Farrell away from the Blue Jays last offseason while he held the same position in Toronto. Now they might block a bench coach from leaving? That’s bad for business and bad for the reputation of a top organization in the game. “

    • Sonate

      I think you (and others) nailed it yesterday in that the “gray area” arises because Lovullo was not on Red Sox payroll when the agreement was signed. I’ll bet the Cubs argue the agreement shouldn’t apply to Red Sox hires after the agreement was reached. Red Sox FO, in their seemingly perpetual role as jerks, argue that the agreement applies to ALL Red Sox personnel. I will speculate that the Commissioner’s office will eventually not allow a team to block non-player personnel from interviewing for a better position if the Red Sox continue to abuse the privilege.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Are you saying that someone doesn’t love Theo, and that someone is
      in the business? And you mean I am not the only one?

      FOR SHAME!

    • cubtex

      Terrible example Jesse Rogers.

      The Red Sox traded Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays for Farrell. They needed to give the Blue Jays something.
      How is that the same thing?

      I stand by my statement that Theo needs to get his face out of the Red Sox a##.

      • Tony_Hall

        That wasnt a promotion, therefor requires compensatio. They took Toronto’s manager and coaches.

        • cubtex

          yes for compensation. there was also no agreement in place that the Red Sox would not raid any of the Toronto employees.

          Not even close to the same thing.

  • Tony_Hall

    Renteria has been the leader in the clubhouse and was not a finalist in Seattle (never even had a second interview), so the Cubs have been only waiting to interview the last candidate on their list. Renteria isn’t going anywhere, ST is still 3 months away, waiting until the end of the World Series to get a chance to talk to all of your candidates is just smart business. But it sure is fun listening to people make this sound like they are messing this up versus doing due diligence. If they would have been wowed in an interview and just hired that person, what would it tell you about their process? That they didn’t have one. But they do, and they have done their due diligence on all of the candidates and this process will be coming to a conclusion.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Tony,
      You would be an excellent PR man for anybody. If you can defend Team Theo like this,
      your PR skills are among the highest on the planet.

      • Tony_Hall

        Is that a job offer?

        • Ripsnorter1

          : )

          Unlike Renteria, you are first on my list. : )

      • cubtex

        hahaha. he will defend Theo if they found a dead body with him holding a bloody knife over the body! :)))

    • K_Gripp

      Reading your posts sometimes I wonder if you are Carrie Muskat feeding the CCO the company line.

  • K_Gripp

    Shark is basically saying “If you dont plan on winning in the next two years then you need to trade me because I dont want to be a part of a losing team.” I believe he will get his wish.

    • cubtex

      agreed. He will be gone. If you are a starting pitcher, would you want to pitch with the product Theo is putting out there behind you?

      • K_Gripp

        As a player I would agree with Samardzija. Next season isnt promised to a player let alone 2015. He could tear his elbow this spring and never pitch again. Why should he wait around 5 years on a winner? I think it was Dempster that was foreshadowing that Samardzija only cares about winning and is forcing the hand of the FO to put a team on the field that can win or trade him. If you are a competitor you dont want to be a part of a losing team, organization, or company.

        • Dave_in_STL

          Every player of any sport at any level should desire to win. If you don’t care, why do you play? I love the fact that the Shark is going public with his desire to win. Every player on this roster should be busting their tail every single day to get better. They should be willing to hold each other accountable if they see 1 is not working toward the ultimate “team goal” Who care who the mgr is, winning solves everything. Does anyone believe that Pirates fans liked the Clint Hurdle hire, were they parading in the streets? No way, but when the Pirates where playing meaningful games in September, he was a hero. Every single player on the roster at any level should all want to win, period, and they should prepare everyday, in every way to do so.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Cubs should just go ahead and pay Mr. Navarro.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Why? Because he had his first good year in five years? If I’m getting a free agent, I want a consistent one.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Which Catcher do you want to sign? I’m listening. : )

        • cubtex

          Koyie Hill

          • Ripsnorter1

            We traded for this guy, and then he walked away from us as soon as he could.
            I don’t understand it. He was playing for Team Theo.

            But if you don’t sign Navarro, Salty or McCann, Koyie Hill is your next best option.

          • 07GreyDigger

            How about Brayan Pena? He’s a switch hitter. Had a nice year with the Tigers. Kurt Suzuki would be another good bounceback candidate.

            I just don’t see why you drop $5 million plus on a guy when you have a young catcher like Wellington Castillo you’re developing. Makes zero sense.

          • cubtex

            Re-Read what you just typed. What has happened to the mindset of the Chicago Cub fans when people are complaining about paying a backup catcher 5 mil per year?

          • Ripsnorter1

            They’ve been ricketted. They’ve been Jedized. They’ve been the-ologized.
            They’ve accepted losing as a way of life, at some of the highest ticket prices on the planet.

            Now time for a commercial break: Tony will speak for Theo’s plan.
            LOL

          • Ripsnorter1

            More proof the Koyie Hill is better than Navarro.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Pena will be 32 in January. Career .258 hitter. He’s got no power: slugs for a career .359 mark
            (Darwin Barney territory). Pretty weak bat coming off of a career year in Detroit
            with Miggy and Prince Fielder and some other big bats to help protect him.

            So Navarro has the bigger bat, with much more power. Cubs offense was 28th in MLB–with Navarro.
            You’d be cutting into that production if you go with Pena.

            Suzuki: career .253 hitter, career .375 slugger. Another weak bat. Compare Barney at career .246 BA and .336 slugger.

            Can we win with more Darwin Barney’s on the roster?

            The Cubs had top 5 starting pitching in MLB last year. It’s the offense that killed us. We need more runs. Navarro was a good portion of our run production. The guy slugged .492–these are All-Star numbers. Should we just dump him for some singles hitting catchers?

          • 07GreyDigger

            I love that stats Rip, but why not look at the whole picture.

            Navarro: career .251 hitter, career .371 slugger.

            Sure, he slugged .492 last season, that was a career high and by a wide margin.

            What if you pay him 10 million and he regresses back to his career stats? That’s my worry.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I get your point. And you could be right. But he has more upside, imo, than
            Pena or Suzuki.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Cubs should just go ahead and sign Scott Baker.

    • Denver Mike

      Agreed on Navarro and Baker. Looking at the list and salary projections above, there is no way I would break the bank on Ellsbury or Choo when they are on the wrong side of 30. In no particular order I would like to see the Cubs go after:

      Tanaka – The pitch count numbers mentioned recently are certainly a red flag for in my untrained opinion, but if the FO of the Cubs and other teams are too concerned and he has the potential to be as good as Darvish then why not make a run at him?

      Garza – It won’t happen, but if the money is decent why not kick the tires?

      Arroyo – I feel like he would be nearly as effective over a full season as Garza, and if he will sign for fewer years and less annually then I would prefer him over Garza at this point.

      Navarro – I think McCann is on the downside of his career, and Salty doesn’t do any one this particularly well (and probably wants to start). All of those things considered, pay Navarro for some decent backup production and let him keep working with Castillo, I think it will pay dividends long term in regards to Wellington’s development.

      Baker – Why not? For that money, and considering we are the most knowledgeable with the progress of his comeback from TJ this seems like a no-brainer.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes, I agree with your entire post–except Tanaka.
        Garza and Arroyo ought to be considered.

        Tanaka: no. Too much dough. Too many question marks.

      • John_CC

        I’m surprised at the Navarro predictions only because “they” have been saying he will be priced out of the Cubs range, but 2 and 10M$ isn’t much. Maybe for a backup it is but considering Castillo is making minimum that’s a great catcher tandem for 5.5M a year.

  • Denver Mike

    So Gammons is reporting the Cubs will announce the new manager on Thursday, and that Renteria is considered the favorite.

    Sounds like the Lovullo interview isn’t going to happen, in which case Renteria has to be the favorite. All of the candidates have question marks, but I have felt for a while that he was the frontrunner for the job.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Just remember: he was our first choice.

      LOL

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Don’t worry….anyone not chosen, will have another chance in a few years again.

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  • CubbyDenCritic

    So Renteria ( A Yes Man) will be hired by Team Theo…….Renteria is only Dale Sveum in disguise……with more hair………….if Renteria was the main guy, why go through this Lovullo mess with Boston?…….if it was just to show everyone that Red Sox GM Cherington is a Bad Apple, then we already knew that……
    So who is Rick Renteria?…..A Mexican American, born on Christmas Day in 1961…..Played with the Pirates, Marlins & Mariners as an infielder……Managed Team Mexico this past year in the World Classic……lost to Italy & Canada……..yes, that is right, his team lost to Italy in the first round……Has the nickname of “The Secret Weapon”……..sounds like Rick is more groomed for a Marvel Comic Action Hero than a Baseball Manager………………okay, I want to give Rick a new baseball nickname……”El Toro”…..that sounds better………..Good Luck Rick……….enjoy your stay in Chicago………Theo & Jed will be doing this again within a few years.
    Shark loves Chicago…….how many times we heard that from players ready to jump to a new team !……..by the time the Cubs contend, Samardzija will be an AARP member………when teams start to panic for pitching, Shark will bring in a nice haul of Prospects…..
    Don’t want to even bother with that F/A list posted……………not going to happen……
    Too bad Chapman left us….I thought he had some stuff….but too many injuries…..if Dolis hooks up with a good pitching coach, he will be back in the Majors……….
    Next on Cubs Agenda……
    – Lawsuits with Roof Top Owners

    • brent carmona

      If you are going to post, can you not only make complete sentences but create a coherent message in your writings?

      And calling Rick a ‘Yes Man’ is rude, why would you even say that?

    • John G.

      Give it a rest.

    • bpot92

      The world baseball classic isnt exactly the best way to judge a mangers performance. and how do you know he is a yes man?

      Also if I were the recruiter of a business I would try and look at all my potential candidates before making a call. Hiring someone isnt just about filling a position. Its an investment. You arent just spending you money on their salary but you are spending time and resources to train and advance their skills. No manager is perfect, so even Girardi would have had to adapt to the situation and develop under new rules that come about each year. You dont want to hire someone you think is right and realize it was a mistake and then go through the process again. That already happened with Dale and I cant blame them for interviewing everyone, even if they probably know it isnt a fit (Hinch, Martinez, Wedge didnt seem like front runners to me).

    • RynoTiger

      My sources say the line about Rick being a “yes man” is absolute BS and to insinuate that clearly means you have no idea who Rick Renteria really is other than what you find on Wikipedia or some other website and use to spout off to make it seem like you’re knowledgeable.