A whole lot could have changed in the intervening day, and Saturday afternoon was a mere 24 hours after Joe Maddon opted out of his deal with the Rays on Friday. But, as of yesterday afternoon, manager Rick Renteria had not heard from the Chicago Cubs about the swirl of Maddon rumors, according to a report from Bruce Levine (via a friend of Renteria’s).
On the one hand, you’d like to think the Cubs would be as transparent as possible with Renteria at every step in the process. He’s coming off of his first year at the helm of what proved to be a very successful – in terms of development, which is the most important thing right now – Cubs team in 2014, and he had already been assured of return in 2015 (the second year of a three-year contract). I can’t and don’t fault the Cubs for exploring the possibility of a elite manager like Maddon, but I also feel like it’s important that they treat Renteria respectfully throughout this very delicate process.
On the other hand … what exactly are the Cubs supposed to say to Renteria at this point? And what, for that matter, is there to say? We don’t know that the Cubs have even formally contacted Maddon yet about a job that would supplant Renteria (though it sounds like they either have or at least will in the future). So, it might simply be a matter of not wanting to talk to Renteria until it’s clear that there’s something to discuss. Why give life to rumors that, strictly speaking, are still just rumors?
I still think the Cubs will treat this situation with the appropriate levels of diligence and respect. Indeed, it’s possible that the front office took a day to get its bearings (no one was expecting Maddon to suddenly become available, so a period of adjustment is understandable), and then sought out a conversation with Renteria. Or it’s possible that they haven’t spoken to him yet, but they’ve got a good reason for it.
It can’t be easy that this is all happening at a time when, because of the World Series, nobody can formally do anything. Once the series wraps mid-week, I suspect we’ll learn of what’s up with Maddon, from the Cubs’ perspective, very quickly. Hopefully, for Renteria’s sake, he isn’t left without any idea of where he stands for too long. Yes, he’s a professional, and this comes with the territory (well, kind of). And, yes, my concern here is mostly just at the human level (if I were in his shoes, I’d be feeling pretty nervous and/or crummy right now). But the other thing is that, whatever is going to happen, you want it done and behind you as quickly as possible so that everyone can gear up for the offseason, with no distractions or hard feelings or confusion or whatever.