Rick Renteria was introduced as the 53rd manager in franchise history during a conference call with the Chicago media on Thursday afternoon. Renteria said all of the right things during the 30 minute teleconference and Theo Epstein was complimentary of his new skipper. Epstein explained that Renteria has an “impeccable reputation” and he tried to hire him as a field coordinator in Boston more than a decade ago.
Rick Renteria said the one thing the players need is confidence and his team will be prepared each and every day. Renteria also stressed the importance of communication and added he will draw his managerial style on what he learned from Jim Leyland, Dick Williams and Bud Black, as well as minor league manager Johnny Lipton.
The Cubs’ new skipper thinks he’s prepared to manage the Chicago Cubs, which is a very taxing job, but admitted his personality is going to change.
As for the perceived delay in hiring Renteria, Epstein explained the Cubs spent the month after their first interview with Renteria doing their due diligence. The Cubs could not find anyone in the game that had a bad word, or even a neutral word, to say about Renteria. All of the feedback was positive.
Rick Renteria is still recovering from hip surgery and is expected to be fully recovered by the time pitchers and catchers report to the Cubs’ new facility in February.
Chris Bosio and the Coaching Staff
Theo Epstein addressed the coaching staff and said there will be some turnover from Dale Sveum’s staff. Announcements will be made in the coming weeks on who will fill out Rick Renteria’s staff. Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein said that the front office will work with Renteria to assemble his staff.
Chris Bosio reportedly has a two-year deal in place to return as pitching coach. The front office is happy with the job Bosio has done over the past two seasons. Lester Strode is also expected to return to his position of bullpen coach, or assistant pitching coach.
As for the rest of Renteria’s staff, according to several reports Alex Cora, Mariano Duncan and Henry Blanco are also in the mix for coaching positions. Plus, Mike Borzello is expected to retain his position on the coaching staff after the improvements Welington Castillo made under his tutelage last season.
Mariano Duncan spent a majority of the final month of last season with the big league team after Daytona rapped up their Championship season. Duncan developed a solid relationship with Javier Baez before his promotion to Double-A Tennessee. It is unclear on what position Duncan could fill, but assistant hitting coach seems very likely. Duncan was the hitting coach for the Daytona Cubs last year.
There has not been any names surface on who will be the Cubs’ new hitting coach. As for Renteria’s bench coach, the Cubs could hire A.J. Hinch to fill the position according to the Sun-Times. As the Tribune reported, with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer involved the coaching staff “could have an infusion of coaches from the Red Sox and Padres organizations.”
It will be interesting to see if the Cubs use the seventh uniformed coaching position on an assistant hitting coach or if they will go the route of Matt Williams and the Washington Nationals and hire a defensive coach. Major League Baseball changed their rules and allowed each team to have a seventh coach in uniform and in the dugout during games. Most teams used the addition as a way to get their assistant hitting coach in the dugout. But the Nationals have added a new wrinkle. Will the Cubs follow their lead and look into hiring a defensive coach?
News and Notes
Darwin Barney was named the Cubs’ Wilson Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday.
Rick Renteria, or RR, was called “The Secret Weapon” by his teammates during his playing career.
Peter Gammons was on MLB Network Radio on Thursday and briefly discussed the Theo Epstein-Red Sox agreement. According to Gammons, Theo Epstein and the Red Sox have a three-year, Separation Agreement. So for another year, the Cubs cannot hire a current employee of the Boston Red Sox. As for how it impacted the Cubs being able to talk to Torey Lovullo that came from above Ben Cherington. According to Gammons, Epstein and Hoyer spoke with Cherington following the regular season about their desire to possibly interview Lovullo once the Sox post-season run came to an end. Cherington did not indicate there would be a problem at the time, but that changed and Lovullo benefited with a three-year contract extension.