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rick renteria padresNew Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria was introduced to the media via conference call yesterday, and you can see more complete thoughts on his remarks a number of places, including here, here, here, here, and here, among others. Some of the highlights:

  • Renteria seems to be relentlessly positive, a default state that will be tested over the coming years, I’d think. He said that it’s pretty rare to see him without a smile on his face.
  • RR is all about player development, though he seemed to underscore that a big part of development is winning and believing you can win. He said folks might think he’s nuts, but he believes the Cubs can win with the talent they have. (What else is he going to say?) His specific wording, from the Cubs.com account: “The assumption that our team or our club won’t be able to play at a high level, quite frankly, I don’t make that assumption. I assume that every team that’s put on the field – and it might sound naive, and I know people are going to say, ‘This kid is naive’ – but I still believe any team that goes in and plays between the lines has a chance to win a ballgame every single day.” I like that he called himself a kid.
  • It sounds like RR is all about keeping player issues in-house, and believes that holding players accountable can look different depending on the player.
  • There was a lot of talk of confidence being a key to development and success.
  • RR isn’t phased by the Cubs’ uniquely losing character, mostly because he can only look and more forward. That’s the “right” attitude to have, though it remains necessary to understand that, for better or worse, that 105 years thing tends to lay at the periphery of every fan reaction.
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer added, by the way, that, when he was in San Diego, there wasn’t a better prepared or harder working member of the coaching staff. I am thinking Hoyer’s input here went a long way to getting Renteria in this position.
  • All in all, it seems to have been a relatively rah-rah affair, the sort you’d expect from an introductory press conference. We’ll hear a great deal more from RR as the offseason goes on, but mostly once players report for Spring Training in February. Then we’ll really start to get a better sense of what he’s all about. For now, he sounds like a positive guy whom the front office really digs. I’ll take that.

 

  • TWC

    But what about the bunt tournament, Rick? What about it?!?!

    • A_Mazz_Ing

      I hope it’s replaced with a “getting on base tournament” or a “hitting wRISP tournament”

      • mr.mac

        ‘I hope it’s replaced with a “getting on base tournament” or a “hitting wRISP tournament”’

        Yes, this, please!

    • Diamondrock

      We can’t have a bunt tournament without David DeJesus. It just won’t be the same…

      • cavemencubbie

        Agreed! Make sure Dave brings Kim!!!

    • macpete22

      He already said if it’s something that the players want to do he’d be ok with it

    • college_of_coaches

      TWC, it’s okay if you call RR “kid.”

      • TWC

        Lulz.

        But only if Lou (YourResidentJagload) says it’s okay.

  • Jono

    A ranking of the most tortured baseball fanbases. Yep, you guessed it

    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/63659470

  • SH

    Seems like a great guy. I hope he can do good work with our team.

  • Don Ameche

    Unless the talent level improves and Baez and Bryant arrive with a bang soon, then 2014 is going to be another 95 plus loss season. Doesn’t matter who the manager is. Look at the outfield right now. Schierholtz is our best player out there. Lake probably is little more than a utility outfieder, as is Sweeney. Until Baez and Bryant arrive their is a black hole at 3rd base and 2nd base. The starting rotation is thin…the bullpen a big fat question mark as always.

    Renteria could be Harry Houdini reincarnate and he still will have trouble avoiding 95 losses in 2014.

    • EQ76

      I’ll reserve my judgement on how bad/good the roster is until after we know who all will actually be on the roster.

    • Rizzovoir Dog

      I didn’t realize Jed wasn’t going to be making any moves this offseason.

      • Funn Dave

        They have stated repeatedly that they do not intend to make any major acquisitions this offseason. So I have no problem projecting the current players into next season in order to make hypotheses about its outcome. If/when we acquire someone, we can insert him into our predictions. Predicting next season based on our current players makes a whole lot more sense to me than predicting a dream lineup for next year full of big-name free agents and current minor leaguers, and that happens around here all the time.

        • Mike F

          This is completely untrue. Nothing is further from the truth! This is more of the myth of the lazy minded media repeated until people convince themselves it is true.

          What they and Theo have said is the more complicated but doesn’t resemble that at ll.

          First, Theo has said the Cubs can’t solve their ML problems through free agency alone. He has said while you can help yourself in adding an impact free agent or two, you can’t completely solve the problems of the team in free agency. In fact the in the know media, not the idiots and haters, have said indeed the Cubs will attempt to add an impact top free agent this offseason and have been connected to multiple top tier guys. But Theo has never said he has foreclosed free agency from the scene.

          Second, Theo has said, you have to take a multi-faceted approach and use every available avenue. That means continuing to draft, and especially means making trades. The Cubs will certainly be looking to make trades.

          Finally, while all the plan robots continue to call for endless losses and season of losses, even going so far as to already to don the title place-holder on Renteria, in the last two months, Theo has made an interesting pronouncement. Theo has stated publicly the base is now built. In analyzing what he calls one of the best minor league systems in baseball he has stated the base is now complete and that has huge significance. I think the writing is on the wall and should be, that this is new phase for the Cubs and just don’t see 3-5 more years of 95 plus loss seasons in the cards. In fact I don’t think they are as comfortable with the 90 season even loss as lot of you are even in 2014.

          • YourResidentJag

            These are all excellent points. What bothers and annoys me is the calling of Renteria as a mere placeholder….lazy, lazy sportswriting indeed.

            • Mike F

              It just fits their agenda too. And I don’t think he is Theo’s second choice, maybe Tom’s but not Theo’s.

          • Funn Dave

            “Given the needs that we have and where we are and the likely price tags on the market, I don’t think we’ll have the ability to add multiple impact pieces in free agency.” -Theo Epstein, September 2013

            It’s possible that he’s just trying to trick other teams into thinking the Cubs won’t be pursuing anyone. But he does seem to pretty resolutely say that the max number of big-name free agents would be one.

          • Funn Dave

            And it ticks me off, too, that people call Renteria a placeholder. They can say what they want in private, but for the media to call RR a placeholder in print is just disrespectful and speculative.

    • N.J. Riv

      I understand what you are saying, but the off-season just started. There is still a long way to go for the FO to make transactions. I believe Renteria got the job because the Cubs noticed his work with young players and they noticed some of their own will be up sooner rather than later and they picked this guy to be the manager when they do. I give the FO some credit for firing Dale, because they saw that he no longer had what they liked when they interviewed him and didn’t want him to help mold these young guys who are really the keys of success in the Cubs future, I believe talent makes more of an impact than a manager, but with all these young guys coming up roughly around the same time, you need a good manager, long with coaches and veterans on the team to help mold these young guys into the mold of a major league ball player. I wonder how different Starlin Castro (defensively and the mental lapses,because I do realize that these were his best offensive years) would have turned out if he wasn’t manged by a flamed out Lou Pinella and Mike Quade.

    • Stinky Pete

      I’m not sure Houdini was all that knowledgeable about baseball. Now if Starlin missed half the games because he continually locked himself in a cage in the clubhouse like the pitching coach in Rookie of the Year, then I could see Houdini reincarnate having a positive impact on the Cubs.

    • Edwin

      To be fair, Harry Houdini was a lousy baseball manager.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Really a great hire. Managing the Cubs requires a Don Quixote type of attitude. It will be refreshing to see someone in the dugout smiling, and letting his players have some fun. Creating a positive atmosphere is what Renteria is all about. Kudos go to the management, who realized Sveum had become a Debby Downer, and had lost the players.
    Make your mistakes and losses quick ones, a key to success.
    Get him a couple more hitters, this team can win 80 games next year. Which would really energize the team and the fan base.

  • Luis

    Brett, did RR talk about how he would use statistics? or has he ever talked about it before? Really hope he goes with a young bench coach who could bring newer stats and strategies to aid his decision making.

  • Ben

    *fazed

  • Die hard

    Brett — why are you so negative? Wasn’t he your first choice? And if not, need to cut him and FO some slack

    • J.L.

      Haha. Good ol’ Die hard.

  • cubmig

    This may read as triviality, but as a believer that image is a stamp of communicating impressions: “Can a different photo of RR replace the one being used?”

    • Cubbie Blues

      Huh?

  • Cerambam

    Brett is trying so hard to make “RR” happen haha

    • Funn Dave

      He knows how eager his readers are to share a lingo.

  • http://thewflag.wordpress.com Andy

    For some reason I keep reading RR and thinking railroad. As such, there’s a non-zero chance I’m going to start referring to Renteria as Railroad.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t hate it.

    • On The Farm

      Owning RRs has an exponential effect. If we own all four we can charge people $200 every time someone lands on it!

      You guys are talking about Monopoly right?

    • itzscott

      I thought he was being funny and referring to Ricky Riccardo as the new Cub manager because he spoke Spanish.

    • cubmig

      Lots of good connotations in the “RR”.
      such as:
      ****on track!
      ****powerful!
      ****gets you to where you want to go!

      add your own

  • Funn Dave

    I don’t think he has to worry about being called a kid, what with the gray hair and all.

  • Funn Dave

    What does it mean that he plans on keeping player issues in-house? Are there some teams that tell the media about every little piece of clubhouse drama? I don’t think that needs to be the case obviously, but if there’s a really bad situation–see, for instance, the Martin/Incognito & the Dolphins–I think it would be beneficial to present the case to MLB and seek assistance instead of trying to ignore it or cover it up.

  • http://woodyroth@yahoo.com mark

    A lot of negativity out there with people frustrated with the losing. Marmol almost single handedly put the cubs in a big hole last year. And look at all the one run games that were lost. I f Jed and Theo hadn’t of gutted the team at before the trade deadline and maybe that team could have played .500 ball. They defiantly need to get Bryant and Baez there as soon as possible. I think that Rizzo, Baez and Bryant in the middle of the order would be awesome. Add Soler to that lineup in 2015 and you’ll see some offense there for sure. I can see how a positive guy like Renteria could be a real asset with all of these Latin players coming of age. Funny how everybody wants to throw Castro under the bus. I think a .500 season would be great considering that most of the impact played are a year away.

    • Amie

      Mark, you say you want to see Bryant and Baez up as soon as possible? Do you realize your asking for a repeat of what happen with Starlin Castro. Who was brought up to the majors solely to satisfy the fans, and to save Jim Hendry job. He was far from ready and no one cared at all. You don’t do that if you want young players to succeed, and neither Bryant or Baez are ready. Javy’s bat is great, but his glove needs a lot of work. Just how long do you think it would be before the media turned on him as well?

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