Outside of San Diego, not a lot is known about the coaching skills of Padres bench coach Rick Renteria. That anonymity may change in a hurry.
According to a tweet from Bob Nightingale of the USA Today, Renteria has emerged from his Monday interview as the clear-cut favorite to win the open manager’s role with the Chicago Cubs.
The support for Rick Renteria is staggering and he has emerged as clear cut favorite to be #Cubs manager
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 19, 2013
The 51-year-old Renteria has served as the Padres bench coach for the last three seasons under Bud Black. Prior to that, he’s managed in the minor leagues with the Brevard County Manatees (Miami Marlins), and the Lake Elsinore Storm and Portland Beavers of the Padres system.
However, according to Brian Kotloff of SI.com, it could be Renteria’s heritage as a Mexican-American and his work with Latin ballplayers, both while with the Padres and while managing Mexico during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, that appeals highly to the Cubs. Chicago has notable latin prospects coming up through their farm system that could be knocking on the Major League door next season and beyond, including Javier Baez (MLB.com #9), Alberto Almora (#21), Jorge Soler (#25), Arodys Vizcaino, and Arismendy Alcantara. Renteria has helped nurture the careers of Yonder Alonso, Evereth Cabrera, and Alexi Amarista while with the Padres.
Renteria is joined by perennial up-and-coming managerial candidates Sandy Alomar Jr., Dave Martinez, and former Major League managers A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta. The role was opened up when the Cubs dismissed manager Dale Sveum after the season, a move that was expected when the Cubs became closer to competing.
Renteria spent parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues as a shortstop and utility-man, but never really found himself an everyday gig. Spending time with the Pirates, Mariners, and Marlins, Renteria appeared in 184 games and hit .237 with a .608 OPS in 456 career plate appearances.