There is a lot of support among the Chicago Cubs' front office for Padres bench coach Rick Renteria to become the Cubs' new manager, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Renteria is now seen as the "clear cut frontrunner" to take over the position.
Renteria played parts of five major league seasons with the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins as a utility player. He also spent 12 minor league seasons with those organizations, along with a brief stint in the Montreal Expo's farm system.
After his playing days ended, Renteria began managing in the minor leagues for the Marlins, a job he performed from 1998-2001. In 2003, he moved to the Padres' organization as a minor league hitting coach, then a minor league manager. After four years, he was promoted to a major league coaching job, then became the bench coach in San Diego in time for the 2011 season.
Cubs management does have a connection to Renteria, as well. Current general manager Jed Hoyer held the same position for the Padres from Oct. 2009 to Oct. 2011, the same time Renteria was a coach for the major league squad.
The Cubs are rumored to be looking for a bilingual manager. The team believes that could help the development of young players such as shortstop Starlin Castro and top prospects Jorge Soler and Javier Baez. As a fluent spanish speaker and someone who comes from Mexican-American descent, Renteria fits that bill. He also managed Mexico in the latest World Baseball Classic.
Other men interviewed for the position include former MLB managers Manny Acta and AJ Hinch, as well as Rays bench coach Dave Martinez. Acta and Hinch has been seen as having the edge because of their previous experience. The Cubs are also interested in Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo but would have to wait until after the World Series if they wished to interview him.
The Cubs first option had been to steal Joe Girardi away from the Yankees, but he signed a big offer to stay in New York. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein says he would like a manager in place by the Nov. 11 general manager meetings.