The Cubs broke their silence Friday afternoon with two swift announcements about an hour apart. The team fired Rick Renteria and made the hiring of Joe Maddon official. The Cubs scheduled a press conference for Monday afternoon (2:00pm CST) at the Cubby Bear to introduce Joe Maddon as the 54th manager in franchise history.
Theo Epstein, through a statement issued to the media, explained the front office’s decision to let Renteria go in favor of Maddon. Epstein said it was a difficult decision and he thanked Renteria on behalf of the entire organization for the job he did last year managing the team.
Theo Epstein clarified how the Cubs went about talking to Joe Maddon while Renteria was still the team’s manager. After it was learned Maddon had opted out of his contract, the front office verified the news with Major League Baseball before Jed Hoyer flew to San Diego to meet with Rick Renteria.
Contrary to reports, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer kept in contact with Rick Renteria throughout the process.
The Cubs offered Renteria “a choice of other positions” within the organization. Renteria was free to explore other opportunities and he has decided to leave the Cubs according to the Sun-Times.
The front office has prioritized winning and that is the reason Epstein and Hoyer pursued Maddon. The Cubs feel Maddon is a better fit than Renteria to take the team to the next level.
“Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon – who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us – had become a free agent. We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick [Renteria] of be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe [Maddon].”
Epstein closed his statement by saying, “We have clung to two important ideals during our three years in Chicago. The first is to always be loyal to our mission of building the Cubs into a championship organization that can sustain success. The second is to be transparent with our fans. As painful as the last week was at times, we believe we stayed true to these two ideals in handling a sensitive situation. To our fans: we hope you understand, and we appreciate your continued support of the Cubs.”
The front office has removed any doubt about what the goal is for the Cubs. Now it is up to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to provide Joe Maddon with a roster that can win ballgames.
Joe Maddon’s Contract
Details of the contract Joe Maddon received from the Cubs have not been released. MLB Network Radio reported Friday night the Cubs inked Maddon for four years and $20 million. A report from the Tampa Bay Times indicated Maddon received a five-year, $25 million deal. And the Sun-Times reported Maddon received close to a five-year, $25 million contract.
Cubs Coaching Staff
The Cubs are not expected to make major changes to the coaching staff. Joe Maddon will hire a third base coach with the departure of Gary Jones and the team is looking for a new quality assurance coach with Jose Castro leaving for the assistant hitting coach job with the Braves.
The Sun-Times indicated Maddon did not make any coaching demands and “no more than one or two new coaches are expected to join him.” And ESPN Chicago reported “small changes and additions” will be made to Maddon’s staff.
The front office has no plans to let Chris Bosio leave and many say he has a louder voice in the organization than other pitching coaches across the league. Bosio, Lester Strode and Mike Borzello have provided results and Bosio is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best pitching coaches in the game.
John Mallee and Eric Hinske are expected to remain as the team’s hitting coaches. Doug Dascenzo was just hired. Maddon could make a change with his bench coach and the Cubs could move Brandon Hyde back upstairs.
According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, “the Rays don’t plan to let any of their coaches – signed through next season – join him [Joe Maddon]. The one exception could be bench coach Dave Martinez, who will be a strong candidate to replace Maddon with the Rays but likely could opt to leave if he doesn’t get the job.”
From Theo Epstein’s statement: “Today we made the difficult decision to replace Rick Renteria as manager of the Chicago Cubs. On behalf of Tom Ricketts and Jed Hoyer, I thank Rick for his dedication and commitment, and for making the Cubs a better organization.”
“Rick’s sterling reputation should only be enhanced by his season as Cubs manager. We challenged Rick to create an environment in which our young players could develop and thrive at the big league level, and he succeeded. Working with the youngest team in the league and an imperfect roster, Rick had the club playing hard and improving throughout the season. His passion, character, optimism and work ethic showed up every single day.”
“Rick deserved to come back for another season as Cubs manager, and we said as much when we announced that he would be returning in 2015. We met with Rick two weeks ago for a long end-of-season evaluation and discussed plans for next season. We praised Rick to the media and to our season ticket holders. These actions were made in good faith.”
Rick Renteria will have opportunities with other organizations according to multiple reports Friday night while being paid by the Cubs. Renteria had two more guaranteed years on his contract and will receive checks from the Cubs through the 2016 season. The terms of the contract Renteria signed were not made public a year ago. But Ken Rosenthal reported Friday that the Cubs are paying Renteria “around $800,000 per season.”
Renteria is apparently on the Twins radar. Terry Ryan, Minnesota’s GM, is considering talking to Renteria about their managerial opening. The Twins had not contacted Renteria’s agent, Ken Solomon, as of late Friday night. If Renteria interviews for the Twins job, he will be up against Torey Lovullo for the second straight off-season for a big league managerial job. The Cubs wanted to interview Lovullo last fall after Dale Sveum was fired but the Red Sox would not let him officially talk to the Cubs.
According to Mike Berardino, Renteria could also be a candidate for the Twins’ bench coach.
Buster Olney does not think Renteria will have any trouble finding a job with another organization. Renteria is “highly respected” and some teams are already considering him for positions on their team.
Reactions to Hiring Maddon and Firing Renteria
According to Bruce Levine, Rick Renteria can walk tall after firing.
The Rays are still considering filing tampering charges, or at least a complaint, against the Cubs. Marc Topkin reported Tampa might want Major League Baseball to look into the situation. The Rays maintain the Cubs “enticed Maddon to opt out of the final year of his contract.”
According to the Sun-Times, Joe Maddon made the Rays an offer to stay that was less than he ended up signing with the Cubs … and the Rays declined his offer.
Joe Maddon has a ‘unique way’ of building his clubhouse according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
Wesley Wright, who pitched for Maddon at the end of the 2013 season, told the Sun-Times that hiring Maddon “is a championship move and they’re letting everyone know we are going for it.”
Carrie Muskat asked, can Maddon make ‘magic’ with the Cubs?
John Baker and Carlos Villanueva praised Rick Renteria.
According to Sahadev Sharma, Rick Renteria won’t leave much of a legacy in Chicago because he didn’t have a chance to leave his mark.
Tampering? Does Maddon-to-Cubs deal feel icky? Deal with it according to Ken Rosenthal.
ESPN’s Steve Wulf reported it isn’t comfortable, but the Cubs are doing the right thing with Joe Maddon. Maddon and Renteria: Awkward Spot
Joe Maddon brings a culture change to the Cubs according to ESPN Chicago’s Jon Greenberg.
Jim Deshaies posted on his Twitter account: Best of luck to Rick Renteria. Really enjoyed getting to know him. He will be a good hire for someone.
Len Kasper posted on his Twitter account: Best of luck to Ricky. Classy guy who did nice job this year. Hopefully he will get another chance soon. As for Joe, he will be a perfect fit. The process was messy as Theo admitted. But at the end of the day he said it best: organization paramount. It’s never boring around the Cubs. Ever.