The Chicago Cubs have officially named San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria the 53rd manager in team history.
"Renteria joins the Cubs with 30 years of professional baseball experience," the Cubs said in a statement, "including the last six years as the bench coach (2011-13) and first base coach (2008-10) with the San Diego Padres."
Renteria and the team agreed to a three-year contract with club options for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Earlier on Wednesday, Peter Gammons had reported that Cubs’ brass would meet to determine their final decision on their managerial search, and that Renteria was the favorite for the position. Renteria had also interviewed with both the Seattle Mariners and the Detroit Tigers, but after the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus (another guy whom the Cubs had interviewed for the position), Renteria leaned heavily towards the Cubs.
Gammons lauded Renteria for his experience in player development and his experience in managing Team Mexico at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, saying that those types of skills will be critical for the Cubs as they looked for a manager who could mentor the bumper crop of Latin American players like Javier Baez and Jorge Soler that are working their way through the minor league system.
Other candidates for the position had included San Diego Padres Assistant GM (and former Arizona Diamondbacks manager) AJ Hinch, as well as former Mariners manager Eric Wedge. Manny Acta had also been in the mix, as had Joe Girardi, who was one of the early favorites in the search for a new manager before he agreed to a new four-year contract to stay with the New York Yankees.
In the latter stages of the managerial search, the Cubs also expressed interest in Boston Red Sox bench coach Torrey Lovullo, but were not allowed to speak to him, as the Red Sox cited an agreement between the two teams following Theo Epstein’s departure from the organization that forbade him from hiring any Red Sox employee for three years after his exit.
As for Renteria, his coaching and managerial resume is quite long. Beginning in 1998, he managed two minor league clubs in the Florida Marlins organization, and joined the Padres in 2004. He managed in high-A and triple-A for the Padres before being named to the major league coaching staff in 2008, where he was promoted to bench coach in the 2011 season.
One of the biggest criticisms of former Cubs skipper Dale Sveum was that players like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo had regressed under his tutelage, and that among other factors led to his dismissal after the regular season concluded. Renteria brings with him a player development pedigree that Epstein and company liked, and that seems to be the deciding factor in the club’s decision to install Renteria as the manager.
Renteria will be officially introduced as Cubs manager in a media conference call on Thursday afternoon, with a full press conference likely to come after he is cleared to travel following offseason hip surgery.