The Rick Renteria Era Has Come To An End

In a somewhat shocking development, the White Sox announced this morning that they have parted ways with manager Rick Renteria.  The status of the rest of the coaching staff will be determined in conjunction with the new manager, though pitching coach Don Cooper is also expected to move on.  Renteria originally joined the White Sox following the 2015 season as bench coach and was named the team’s 40th manager, replacing Robin Ventura, following the 2016 season.

General Manager Rick Hahn said that the ideal candidate to replace Renteria will have recent post-season experience with a championship organization.  Interestingly enough, two such managers, A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, will be coming off their year-long suspensions following the completion of the World Series.  Both are thought to be on the shortlist for the opening in Detroit, though I’d be surprised if Cora doesn’t end up back with the Red Sox.  One name not in the mix is former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who was told by owner Jerry Reinsdorf that he would not be considered.

In some ways, this move reminds me of one made by another Reinsdorf team back in the summer of 1989.  After reaching the Eastern Conference finals and losing to the Pistons, the Bulls fired coach Doug Collins, saying that while he had gotten the team from point A to point B, he wasn’t the right man to get them to point C.  If this move turns out half as well for the White Sox, everyone involved will be ecstatic.


The Rick Renteria Era Has Begun

renteriaRick Renteria was officially named the 40th manager in White Sox history this morning, replacing Robin Ventura.  Renteria had spent the 2016 season as Ventura’s bench coach.  Many players sang Renteria’s praises, including Jose Abreu, Chris Sale, and Adam Eaton.  How many of them will still be on the roster when Renteria’s first squad takes the field next April remains to be seen.

Renteria will become only the second man to manage both the White Sox and the Cubs, following Johnny Evers, who led the Cubs in 1913 and 1921 and was the White Sox skipper in 1924.  Renteria spent one season leading the Cubs in 2014 before being replaced unceremoniously by Joe Maddon.

Changing Of The Guard

EP-701249829With the 2016 baseball season wrapping up today, the White Sox announced that they would hold a press conference Monday morning and speculation is they will announce that manager Robin Ventura will not return in 2017.  Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that the team was willing to extend Ventura’s contract if he wanted to return, but Ventura refused to announce his intentions, preferring instead to wait until the season comes to an end.  In his five seasons as manager heading into today’s finale, Ventura has put up a 375-434 record, including 4 straight losing seasons following an epic September collapse in 2012 that cost the team a division title.

Former Cub manager and current White Sox bench coach Rick Renteria is expected to be named as Ventura’s replacement.  How much control he will have over his coaching staff and what direction the team will go next year are unknown at this point.  But, this move looks to be a step in the right direction.

Tamper Free

joe-maddonNearly 6 months after word first leaked that the Cubs were going to hire Joe Maddon as their new manager, Major League Baseball announced that there was no evidence of tampering by the Cubs while Maddon was still under contract with the Rays.  After signing Maddon to a 5 year, $25 million contract shortly after opting out of his deal with the Rays, the Cubs were accused of reaching out to Maddon and letting him know that their managerial position, still occupied by Rick Renteria at the time, would become available should he opt out.

The result is somewhat surprising, if only because of the length of time it took to come to the finding.  MLB had originally promised that the investigation would be quick, and then announced that it would be wrapped up prior to the start of the season.  If there was no evidence of tampering, what have the investigators been doing for the past 6 months?

The Joe Maddon Era Has Begun

joe-maddonLast Friday, Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and speculation began immediately that he would become the next manager of the Cubs, despite the fact that Rick Renteria still held that position.  While the Twitterverse ran wild with rumors, other teams with ties to Maddon, like the Dodgers and Red Sox, came out in support of their current managers.  Meanwhile, not a peep came out of 1060 West Addison.

On Monday, with the deafening silence from Wrigley Field, Rick Renteria released a statement reminding everyone that he was still the manager of the Cubs and that he was as committed as ever to leading them to that ever elusive World Series title.

Yesterday, hours before the start of game 7 of this year’s World Series, word broke that the Cubs and Maddon had come to an agreement.  No official word was forthcoming from either party, at least until the dust settles on this year’s champion.

Renteria, meanwhile, finds himself out of a job less than a year after being hired and less than a week after being left to twist in the wind.  After leading the Cubs to their best record since 2010, odds are that Renteria will land on his feet.  Joe Maddon is certainly one of the better managers in the game today, and may prove to be an upgrade over Renteria.  That doesn’t change the fact that Renteria got a raw deal from the Cubs over the past week.

Cub News Abounds

rich_renteria_piratesYesterday was a busy day at the corner of Clark and Addison, as three different news stories broke about the Chicago Cubs.

1) Word broke early in the day yesterday that the Cubs are set to name Rick (formerly Rich) Renteria as their new manager today.  Renteria most recently was the bench coach for the Padres.  The hope is that he will be able to better communicate with the rising Latin American prospects because he is bi-lingual.

I’m not sure what to make of this hire. It seems foolish to hang a hiring decision solely on what languages a guy can speak, but hopefully Renteria brings a little more to the table than that.

2) The Cubs notified WGN that they are opting out of their current television deal following the 2014 season.  The station has 30 days to agree to a higher rights payment determined by a third party consultant hired by both WGN and the Cubs.  If they do not, the Cubs are able to take the 70 game package to the open market.

There doesn’t seem to be much of an option on free TV other than the current setup, and their deal with Comcast Sports Net prohibits them from going to another cable channel, so the odds are that they re-up, at least until 2019.  At that point, the CSN deal will also be up and the Cubs can start looking at creating their own network similar to NESN or YES.

3) As if that wasn’t enough, word broke yesterday afternoon that Keith Moreland, who took over the color analyst spot on WGN following the death of Ron Santo, would not be returning for a fourth season.  In a statement released by WGN, Moreland said that he wishes to spend more time back home in Texas.

I must admit that I have not listened to a lot of Cubs baseball these past few years, but Moreland seemed like he was doing a good job, certainly a more competent one than his predecessor.  Reaction to this news on the Interwebs, however, would indicate that Cub fandom was not enamored with his work and are happy to see him go.