Rick Renteria and a majority of his coaching staff were on hand for the second session on Saturday afternoon. Rick Renteria, Brandon Hyde (bench coach), Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Bill Mueller (hitting coach), Mike Brumley (assistant hitting coach), Gary Jones (third base coach), Eric Hinske (first base coach), Jose Castro (quality assurance coach) and Mike Borzello (catching coach) received warm welcomes. The only member of Renteria’s not in attendance was assistant pitching coach/bullpen coach Lester Strode.
Renteria has held meetings in Arizona to prepare for Spring Training and how the camp will be run. The coaching staff has watched video to familiarize themselves with the players. Each coach appeared eager to get to work and excited for the opportunity to work with the players on the Cubs’ current roster as well as the ones coming through the system.
Rick Renteria announced Jose Veras will begin the season as the Cubs’ closer. Renteria plans on mixing and matching in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings early in the season.
Rick Renteria said the job is not about him, it is about the players. And stressed he cannot answer to the past.
Welcome the New Skipper
Jim Deshaies hosted the session and he started the hour by asking Rick Renteria his first impression of the Cubs Convention. Renteria said it is truly unbelievable and could never have imagined what he had seen to the point of the weekend.
Rick Renteria is an incredibly positive gentleman and not once was he seen without a smile on face. But based on more than a few statements he made during the convention, he will be firm and discipline his kids.
All of the Cubs coaches, according to Renteria, have a tremendous array of knowledge and passion for the players. The coaches welcome the challenge and are prepared to teach in order to further each player’s development.
The Cubs’ pitching staff made strides last year and over the last couple of seasons. Chris Bosio is looking forward to another year. Bosio said his job is to put pitchers in a position to succeed. He indicated there had been a lot of trial and error over the last two years. He feels he has learned a lot and is looking forward to the season.
Mike Borzello spent a lot of time working with Welington Castillo last season. Borzello is often credited with the improvements Castillo made. Borzello feels Castillo has just scratched the surface of his ability. Castillo advanced quite a bit last year with his game calling, understanding and executing a scouting report. Castillo is learning and improving at the same time. Borzello feels last season was a huge beginning to Castillo’s career.
The Cubs have a young pitching staff and there will be bumps in the road along the way. Chris Bosio is preaching the importance of throwing strikes. Welington Castillo and the pitchers work together to call the games. Bosio said the big challenge with young players is to get them to follow and trust the scouting reports. The coaching staff and players are provided with all of the information they need to be successful. Bosio said they spend hours upon hours going over the “endless depth on scouting reports.”
Bosio feels the pitching staff has made big strides since he’s been there even with the veterans that have been traded the last two seasons. The Cubs have added talent but need a lot more according to Bosio. He definitely believes they are going in the right direction.
Rick Renteria refers to Bill Mueller and Mike Brumley as “Bill and Brum” and the Cubs’ new hitting coaches appear to be on the same page. Mueller said the key early on is to understand where each player is first then try to expand their knowledge once they have earned the player’s trust. As for teaching the fundamentals of the game to the hitters like hitting behind runners, bunting, sacrifice flies, Mike Brumley explained most young players do not understand how to play a team-game and to do the little things to make the team successful. Players often do not learn how to do the little things that lead to wins until they reach the majors. Until he reaches the majors, his entire career has been about him. When a player is playing travel ball, it is all about getting noticed. Then once the player hits the minors it is more about his development than the team winning games. There is a huge learning curve on how to be a teammate.
Rick Renteria’s view on playing prospects when they are promoted depends on the player. When it’s a game-changing prospect, Renteria said the player will be in the lineup as soon as he is brought up to the majors. The player will not sit. Renteria stressed that not all prospects make a “splash” when they are first promoted. Sometimes they have to be sent back down to further their development. But once that player receives a taste of the majors, he will want to be back as soon as possible and will be better prepared to handle it the second time.
Brandon Hyde, the Cubs’ new bench coach, indicated his responsibilities will change throughout the season as the coaching staff grows as a group. Hyde is willing to do whatever Renteria needs.
Rick Renteria likes to be active. He is not a sit-around manager. Each coach will have a list of responsibilities and Renteria will not micro-manage. Renteria likes throwing batting practice and hitting grounders during infield practice.
Renteria is planning, for now, to use a combination of Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy at third base. He will play match-ups with what he has. “I hate it when people complain about what they don’t have, Renteria said. Make it work.” The coaching staff will do everything they can to control what they can control.
2014 Cubs Convention Reports
- Day One of the 2014 Cubs Convention: The Future is Bright
- Day Two of the 2014 Cubs Convention: Ricketts Family Forum
- Day Two of the 2014 Cubs Convention: Meet Cubs Baseball Management
- Day Two of the 2014 Cubs Convention: Scouting and Player Development
- Day Two of the 2014 Cubs Convention: Cubs Business Operations Update