Though he only had one season on the North Side, the Cubs think highly of former manager Rick Renteria and expect he’ll succeed with the White Sox.
Promoted by the White Sox last month to replace Robin Ventura, Renteria managed the Cubs to a 73-89 mark in 2014. The 2014 Cubs played their best baseball down the stretch but chose to replace Renteria with current manager Joe Maddon after he opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Renteria sat out the 2015 season before he returned to the dugout as the White Sox bench coach in 2016. But several members of the Cubs said Renteria conducted himself well in his first season as a manager and his style should lend itself to success in his new opportunity.
“It was fun,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “I think he has the benefit now too of being there for a year so all their guys know him and what he’s going to bring. They know how good the guy is.
“He’ll do well there. I think he really will.”
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Cubs’ third-base coach Gary Jones worked with Renteria at several stops in the San Diego Padres’ farm system and again with the Cubs in 2014. He thinks Renteria’s upbeat personality, energy and effective personal skills make him a good leader.
"He’s going to be a good communicator, a calming influence, just a good person,” Jones said. “Not only is he a good baseball coach, he’s a good person in general. He has probably one of the biggest hearts of anybody I’ve been around. I can’t say enough good about him. He’s definitely going to be a positive influence in that clubhouse.
“He’s always been the energy, the positivity, just always dwells on the positive. I think that’s part of what makes him so unique is he’s just a good baseball person, but he dwells on the positive and he gets the most out of the players. Players love playing for him and that’s a big thing.”
General manager Jed Hoyer said Renteria was a particularly effective teacher to younger players. Ex-shortstop Starlin Castro had his best season ever when he played for Renteria in 2014. Castro hit .292/.339/.438 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs and was worth 2.8 f-WAR.
The team also produced its best two months at the end of the 2014 season, going 28-25 in August and September.
“I’m really excited for him,” Hoyer said. “He’s a wonderful person. He did a great job in San Diego. Obviously we’ve talked about it a lot here — I don’t think we were entirely fair to him. He did a good job for us. We just had a chance to hire who we thought was the best manager in the game, who had the experience and felt like was the perfect person for this job. Any other person and (Renteria) may well still be a Cub. I’m thrilled for him, and he must have done a really good job as their bench coach to make them kind of short-circuit the process and do it early. I think the White Sox will really enjoy getting to know him.”