Obsessive New Manager Watch: Renteria Still Favored, Lovullo Interview Uncertain, Me Rankled

rick renteria padresIn some ways, the Cubs’ managerial search has been far too boring since Joe Girardi returned to the Yankees, so it’s nice to have a little drama injected. I kid, mostly.

  • Although the Cubs are still awaiting the opportunity to interview Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, but sources tell Dave Kaplan that a resolution should be coming, one way or another, over the next couple days. In the interim, the Cubs could head back out to California to meet with Rick Renteria once again, and Kaplan believes that Renteria remains in the lead for the job.
  • As I’ve thought about the latest Cubs/Red Sox dust-up, I’ve gotten more and more rankled. Even if it’s true that the Cubs and Red Sox had a hardline agreement that the Cubs would not hire any Red Sox personnel for three years after Epstein came to the Cubs, Lovullo was not a member of the Red Sox organization at the time that agreement was made, meaning that he was not the kind of employee whom the Red Sox were worried about losing when the agreement was contemplated in the first place. You make these kind of non-compete agreements so that the leaving party doesn’t exercise undue influence over his former compatriots – were a specific connection not required between the leaving party and those other employees, all teams could simply request of all other teams that they not hire away any employees. That’s not in the spirit of a fruitful and progressive MLB, and I’d like to think that MLB would take issue with the Red Sox trying to enforce this agreement in this manner.
  • Separately, I’m really, really rankled by Red Sox ownership and president Larry Lucchino, if they are indeed withholding permission in the way that has been reported (i.e., partly because of a wounded relationship between those men and Epstein). The organization is seriously going to forbid an employee from the opportunity – what might be a literal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to manage the Chicago Cubs because of some personal animosity that has nothing whatsoever to do with that employee? How can anyone in the Red Sox organization support that kind of thing, especially when they know it’s not like Lovullo is going to be promoted in-house any time soon? How can they expect Lovullo to just be a good soldier and say, “Yes, sirs, I understand that you’re preventing me from this life-changing opportunity because of some BS you had with Epstein two years ago when I wasn’t even a part of the organization. Thanks for thinking of me!” It’s disgusting, and I would be appalled if the Cubs were pulling something like this. Here’s hoping the Red Sox do the right thing, grant permission for the interview, and we subsequently learn that this was all just a big misunderstanding …
  • Dave Kaplan says he fully expects Chris Bosio to be retained as the Cubs’ pitching coach, regardless of the managerial decision, and the Cubs may look into bringing Henry Blanco on board as a coach, as well.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

255 responses to “Obsessive New Manager Watch: Renteria Still Favored, Lovullo Interview Uncertain, Me Rankled”

  1. macpete22

    Bring Hank White back!

    1. SirCub

      +1

    2. On The Farm

      Is that some sort of combination of Breaking Bad’s Hank Schrader and Walter White? ;)

      1. DarthHater

        No, it’s some sort of combination of Henry Blanco and English.

  2. mdavis

    its a shame. i liked lovullo, just from what i have read and what not. but we’ll see, i’m sure it will be resolved by the time the GM meetings roll around.

  3. When the Music's Over

    Baseball Prospectus did a top 50 free agent destination prediction thing that was posted today, and they predict ZERO players going to the Cubs. I must caveat that it didn’t include Tanaka or any other international guys for that matter.

    1. Stogie

      That’s not surprising. They’ve been adamant they will not be active in FA. Which means another 95 loss season is coming our way!

      1. When the Music's Over

        I’ve been thinking about the public comment made concerning raising the payroll by $25-30M over last year, and what that really means.

        It could mean a number of things:

        1) Let’s hypothetically say the Cubs payroll ended at $90M after the dust settled last year. That could mean an opening day payroll of $115-120M this year.

        2) It could mean for the players currently on the roster and any free agent additions, that payroll will increase by that amount over last year. That would mean that after taking into account contract escalations and arbitration raises, that the Cubs have only $10-15M to spend on free agents.

        3) It could represent a figure just for free agents.

        4) Perhaps a combination of #2 and #3.

        This front office is very cryptic with their words and sometimes the truth, so far more often than not, comments made by it cannot be taken at face value. I’m wrong a lot, but I’m going to guess the that comment will more closely follow #2 above.

      2. Jamie

        Patience…breathing through my eyelids.

    2. cubfanincardinalland

      I can see them being active with Scott Kazmir, Josh Johnson(makes sense for him to sign a one year deal with a team that will potentially trade him mid season, and lose the compensation factor), Chris Young(this would be a great pickup), and longshot Curtis Granderson(lose a #45 pick, but makes a lot of sense for a 3 year deal, he would really help their organization).
      They will kick the tires on Jose Veres, Joaquin Benoit(somebody will overpay though).
      Can make an argument for a one year deal for Juan Uribe, another good team guy, right handed bat at third with plus defense.

  4. cubfanincardinalland

    Luchino and Henry have really lost their minds on this one if they are really trying to block Lovullo from an interview with the Cubs. And they are treading on very dangerous ground and risking alienating the rest of the league.
    It has always been a gentlemen’s agreement that any of your coaches are fair game for a promotion to another big league team.

    1. hansman

      If there is an agreement that says the Cubs cannot hire away their employees, then the Red Sox SHOULD stick to those guns. Otherwise it destroys their ability to have agreements in the future.

  5. JB88

    As a non-compete attorney, I can say, without hesitation, that such an anti-raid provision would not be enforceable in any state in the country.

    And I applaud you for so well articulating my own thoughts on the Red Sox boorish behavior on this issue.

    1. Andrew

      even if not enforceable by a state, it might be enforceable through the MLB

      1. JB88

        Not likely. Antitrust exemption would protect it from outside claims of monopoly, but this is essentially an employment dispute between Lovullo and the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are preventing Lovullo from interviewing for a job, which they otherwise are not permitted to prevent him from so doing.

        The Chicago Cubs and Red Sox could certainly and legally enter into such a no-hire agreement, but generally (and if they are worded correctly), those agreements are limited to persons with whom the departing employee worked or worked at the organization during a certain period of time. Were I the Cubs’ attorney when they entered into the agreement, I don’t think you could in good faith counsel your client to agree not to hire anyone who ever became an employee of the Red Sox (or define it more specifically).

        1. Andrew

          Ahh gotcha, thanks for the insight on how these clauses work

  6. spearman

    Get a goat. I say we curse the Redsox .

    1. cavemencubbie

      Just as long as it isn’t the Michigan Goat. We need him here! :)

  7. Kramden

    Very short sighted strategy by the Red Sox. What goes around, comes around. At some point the Red Sox will want/need something from the Cubs and hopefully the Cubs will tell the Ted Sox to stick it.

  8. Rich

    The Red Sox do NOT have to let him interview. That is there choice.

    1. Andrew

      It’s their choice but it’s also a really crappy practice for their employees. What aspiring manager would want to be a coach on a team that blocks them from possible promotions.

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        This is it, I mean what a horrible message to send to the people in your company. Work hard, be loyal, but if you ever get a lifetime opportunity to advance your career, forget about it, we effing own you.
        Could you go to work every day if you were Lovullo next year, knowing your employer stopped you from realizing a dream I am sure he has? Just really bad business.

  9. Brian Peters

    I feel bad for Renteria in all this. Here he has (probably) read/heard how he’s the favorite, yet the Cubs want to talk to Lovullo. Fine…oh, wait…Boston’s being their normal dickwad selves and not allowing communication between Cubs and Lovullo. The thing that sucks is this: if the Cubs are able to get permission to talk to Lovullo, they will hire him just to spite the Red Sox. That would suck big time for Renteria.

  10. Cheryl

    Luvello could very well take a look at the situation, knowing he’ll miss this opportunity and decide to resign. He’d have to wait for another chance but he’d be out of the Red Sox’s control. Knowing this situation with the Red Sox “I wonder how many prospective coaches will want to work for them?

  11. Indy57

    Despite what I wrote yesterday, a little digging shows that the Sawx paid a bit of compensation to the Jays for John Farrell http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/8533970/boston-red-sox-acquire-manager-john-farrell-toronto-blue-jays
    Now, having said that, the compensation for a bench coach versus a current manager should be different. It does seem as though the Sawx like “gamesmanship, however. Perhaps they are in negotiations now and we will hear something today. If not, move on to Renteria. Let the Sawx deal with an unhappy bench coach.

    1. mdavis

      farrell to the red sox was a lateral move. i have never once heard of a team giving compensation to hire a coach to manager. its ridiculous, there should be 0 compensation.

      1. Indy57

        Agreed. Just pointing out the Sawx mentality. Seems there is plenty of “gamesmanship.”

    2. Andrew

      Farrell wasn’t getting a promotion by going to the Sox though and that’s the difference. It’s fair to not want the guy currently managing your team managing another team. It’s unfair to the employee to deny him an opportunity for a promotion with another company

      1. Pat

        Not if the employee willing signed an employment contract.

  12. When the Music's Over

    Not sure why you think the Red Sox would be above a move such as this one. I’m not saying they’ll stick to their guns if this story is indeed completely true, but articles such as this one prove to me (again) that the Red Sox (along with the Cardinals) believe they’re baseball royalty. And throughout history how has royalty behaved? Generally like a$$holes.

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/05/the-red-sox-took-out-a-full-page-ad-in-the-st-louis-paper/related/

    1. YourResidentJag

      Or does a question emanate from Brett’s statement: That’s not in the spirit of a fruitful and progressive MLB. Maybe MLB isn’t as progressive as we think.

  13. Chris

    Brett,

    Agree entirely. As is being reported now, this is nothing short of disgusting on the part of Boston ownership.

  14. oswego chris

    the only way this Red Sox thing is defensible is if Torey Lovullo came to them and said…”Please don’t make me interview with the Cubs, I like being the bench coach here”
    I doubt that happened, and I would be livid if I was Lovullo and wanted to be an MLB manager.

    1. CubChymyst

      If that was the case Lovullo would just deny the interview.

  15. Blackhawks1963

    This thing is getting messy. I think the best approach is to move on from Lovullo and be done with it. And if you are Renteria then you’ve got to be thinking your the “Plan B” guy, which isn’t exactly the right way to start things if indeed he does get hired.

    Seriously, I doubt Lovullo is the second coming of Casey Stengel. Lets just move on and hire Renteria or look at a new batch of candidates.

    1. TWC

      “Lets just move on and hire Renteria”

      Really? You think we should hire Renteria? Who knew?!

  16. papabear

    Lovullo still has a great Job and high paying. If he would get the Cubs job good for him but don’t loose sight he still has a great job with a great organization. He will not bite the hand that feeds him for a ton of reasons .

  17. Dumpgobbler

    Lucchino is a snake, big time. Cubs / Sox have an agreement. so theres that. But I’d imagine its going to be a tough conversation with Lovullo saying they wont let him interview. Is it me or is the Red Sox the toughest organization to talk with? Look at what we did with Rothschild to the Yankees. We just let him go there laterally because he wanted to. Yet we can’t even seek an interview the the bench coach? Keep running a class organization Lucchino.

  18. Melrosepad

    I could see this being legit if Boston basically told said he is free to interview for all other managerial jobs except for the Cubs due to our non-hire agreement from two years ago. That would have covered their butts and made them seem less dickish.

    1. frank

      Maybe, but the agreement is pretty much non-enforceable because Lovullo didn’t work for Boston at the time the agreement was entered into. Unless he also agreed, in writing, that he wouldn’t interview with the Cubs, he could change his mind at any time.

  19. MightyBear

    Luccino’s a douche bag.

  20. MightyBear

    Although, we should probably be grateful that Lucchino is a douche bag. If he was a good guy and great to work for, Epstein would probably still be in Boston.

  21. itzscott

    At this point, if Rent a center had a choice his best move would be to decline the Cubs and accept the Seattle offer.

    He’s got to be wondering what kind of circus he’s getting himself into and that he’s too old for this shit.

    1. frank

      That’s implying that the Cubs are screwing things up here, when they’re not. They’re going through their search process, as any organization would. Boston’s screwing things up.

  22. itzscott

    The other thing is that we know little to nothing about Lovullo, in spite of all the pontifications being spewed out here by all the “experts”…. it may turn out that Lucchino is actually doing the Cubs a favor.

    I don’t understand all the Lovullo love and the disappointment being written by posters when this guy has no reputation as a manager and just about all of us know next to nothing about his abilities.

    1. mdavis

      and Sandberg was different?

      Truth is most of us don’t know all the fine details of each candidate. people make decisions based on outsider views on things that are out there and reported. Tha’ts about all we can do.

  23. Jono

    Whew, that’s better. After quickly checking out a Cubs hat on the MLB shop website, I’m getting much more appropriate ads for a Cubs blogs. I’ll have to remember this little trick the next time I see Cher all over this website (Cher was from an American Express ad after I did credit card research)

    1. YourResidentJag

      You may want to install the application through Ghostery.com. Really helps control ads.

  24. conysdad

    There’s no reason not to think that the agreement stated that the Cubs couldn’t hire any Red Sox personnel for the duration of the agreement. When Lovullo was hired may have nothing to do with it. And honestly, if the Cubs thought there was a chance they’d want to hire somebody from the Red Sox throughout the duration of the deal, they were stupid to agree to it in the first place.

    Let’s not get pissy with the Sox over an interview. Let another team knock on the door for a Lovullo interview and THEN ask. That way the Sox look all sour grapes if they say no to the Cubs but yes to another team.

    1. frank

      Not knowing the exact wording of the agreement, you could be right. Of course, the exact wording could also reveal that when Lovullo was hired has everything to do with it.

  25. CBulls

    Can we just hire a manager already?????

    1. When the Music's Over

      At this point, it’s far too much fun watching this wreck unfold.

    2. cubfanincardinalland

      Nothing wrong with doing your research and finding the right fit.
      See all this complaining about the Cubs taking to long to find a manager, even an article in the Tribune about the Cubs look foolish waiting so long.
      Consider this. We hear non stop about how wonderful the Cardinals organization does things, oh boy. Well they hired Mike Matheny on November 14th, 2011, after an exhaustive process that included several interviews with at least 6 candidates.
      In 2011 the Red Sox hired Valentine on December 1.
      The Cubs have no game tomorrow to manage. Their timeline and process is going just fine.

      1. When the Music's Over

        Doesn’t mean those processes weren’t also filled with drama. Then again, maybe those searches were kept quiet by those front offices, something this front office has proven it doesn’t do so well.

  26. Kevin

    This is like “Roof Top Owners” lite! They may or may not sue, but, either way, both are scumbags!

  27. Curt

    This is exactly why I had no interests in the World Series this yr can’t root the cards bc what cub fan can , can’t root for the redsox bc they are ran by douschebags of epic proportions where’s the emperor when u need him.

    1. YourResidentJag

      I’m in the same camp here.

  28. The Dude Abides

    Without knowing the agreement details ourselves you have to assume and the way Red Sox are reacting that Theo had to have doubts and should have reached out during the playoffs to get an idea from Red Sox FO. End of day Theo is responsible for this fiasco and while it puts the Sox in a bad light a deal is a deal. Again, condition of the deal are only known by a select few, Theo is one of them.

  29. cubfanincardinalland

    Heard some interesting stuff from my guy with a downtown law firm. He says he hears the Cubs are coming to the end of a window to make a decision on the Budweiser sign out in right field. A lot of internal debate going on with the team as to how to proceed.
    One camp says it is crazy to proceed with a threat of a lawsuit, and urges working out some kind of deal with the rooftop association.
    Many in the organization though feel they should proceed with the sign, take in the 5 million bucks a year, and deal with the lawsuit which would be sure to come.
    Some of their reasons.
    Lets see the rooftop boys and girls start writing some checks for all this tough lawsuit talk. A long protracted case could run in to the multiple millions in legal fees. Cubs certainly have more money, plus additional money from the sign coming in. Advantage team.
    Some with the Cubs also believe they would prevail in court. The whole issue being that the signs do not block the rooftops from still having a view into the ballpark. Their argument would be that the original agreement was never meant as though sitting in the rooftops was supposed to “replicate” the experience of actually buying a ticket in the ballpark to see the game. Instead, it was to allow panoramic views into the park, to give those in the rooftops a feel of the atmosphere of the actual game.
    Important to remember how the whole agreement was created in the first place. The Cubs had put up screens to block any view into the park. This is a strong precedent, that the rooftops intent in the agreement was to allow their patrons a view into Wrigley Field.
    The Cubs will argue that maybe they can not see every pitch or play in the game, but the views still allow rooftop patrons to see inside the park and experience the feel of the game. Instead they have morphed the process into selling tickets as though people were actually buying a ticket to the ballgame. The Cubs will argue that this was never the intent of the agreement. Stay tuned.

  30. zach

    hank white!!!

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