The long awaited decision has finally been made, as the Chicago Cubs officially announced that they’ve agreed to a deal with former San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria to become their new manager, and the successor to Dale Sveum. The two sides agreed to a three-year deal that comes with a pair of option years as well.
It was an exhaustive search for a new skipper by the Cubs’ front office tandem of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, who were looking for the perfect fit for their up-and-coming ballclub. A bit of the criteria included previous managerial experience, and an ability to handle and help develop young talent. Renteria fit one of those, and arguably the more important, criteria.
Regardless of how many items on the checklist Renteria checked off for the Cubs, it’s worth questioning whether or not he’s the guy that is going to get this Cubs team to the promised land for the first time in over a century. With a group of underwhelming candidates, mainly due to a lack of name recognition, there wasn’t a new face on the Cubs’ bench that was going to set the North Side into a frenzy and help generate a positive buzz for the first time in a few years.
For 2014, it doesn’t necessarily matter who’s managing this Cubs team. If Renteria comes in and turns this team into anything better than a .500 ballclub, it’ll be a shock. This is still a terrible team, and until their top prospects reach the big leagues, and necessary additions are made via free agency and trade, this club will continue to struggle to even tread water. However, once this team is even approaching contender status, it’s going to be a serious question: is Rick Renteria the guy, or just another guy?
At this point in time, Renteria is still something of a wild card. We know he drew rave reviews from several folks throughout the game, and many of his players from San Diego, some of which likened him to a Bud Black type in his own right. We know he emphasizes player development and his relationships with those players and accountability and everything a Cub fan could possibly want to hear from the new manager.
But until there are positive results, Renteria is going to have the appearance of being just another guy. That’s not his fault. He lacks managerial experience and his hire was as anti-climactic as possible. Whether warranted or not, that’ll be the stigma attached to him until the Cubs finally turn it around. If they do it under Renteria.