DETROIT — Here’s a common reaction when Rick Renteria is mentioned as a candidate for the Cubs job: Who?
After spending nearly eight seasons with the San Diego Padres, Jake Peavy understands the situation his former coach is in now after meeting with the Cubs on Monday in California.
Whether it’s games played after much of the country has gone to bed or a bad team on a small budget, the spotlight rarely is pointed in that direction. Nothing like what Peavy and the Boston Red Sox are facing in this classic ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
Renteria doesn’t have the same headline-grabbing potential as New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi. But that doesn’t make Renteria any less qualified, Peavy said after Monday’s workout at Comerica Park.
“It’s unfortunate, but (the Padres) are almost nonexistent in the rest of the baseball world. They just get no media play nationally,” Peavy said. “He has been a coach for that franchise for awhile and it’s unfortunate nobody knows the bench coach out there. He’s flat-out outstanding.”
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Renteria is a leading candidate for the vacancy created by last month’s firing of manager Dale Sveum. His familiarity with Cubs executives could give him an edge in a field that includes ESPN analyst Manny Acta and Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch. Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is expected to interview later this week.
A former infielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and expansion Florida Marlins, Renteria joined the Padres coaching staff as the first-base coach in 2008. He was named the team’s bench coach in 2011 and has long been known as San Diego’s best coaching candidate to earn a managerial position.
Peavy only worked with Renteria – who managed Team Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic – for a little more than 1 1/ 2 seasons but “thinks the world of him.”
“He’ll make an outstanding manager if the Cubs do go that way,” Peavy said. “He brings a lot of intangibles. He knows the game, is gonna work hard, gonna get after it. He just holds guys accountable, but at the same time has a great relationship with the players. He gets the best out of guys and I’m pulling for him to get that job.”