Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs named Rick "Rich" Renteria as their new manager. This is a position that he likely holds for at least the next three years, and possibly beyond since he has those two option years that the ball club can pick up. Whether you are in favor of this hiring or not, this is something you will need to accept, because what is done is done, and nothing will change the decision until at least 2017 at the earliest.
One thing that I find amusing though in all the debates that have taken place since the hiring of Renteria was made official, is how much a percentage of Cub fans are against this move and feel that the wrong decision was made. The main argument that is generally made is that they disagree with the move because they have never heard of him before the Cubs brought up his name as a potential managerial candidate. When asked who they would rather have, they would come back with Joe Girardi, Dave Martinez or another top name guy who has experience and might be a highly sought after manager for their team. The problem with that is that no manager who has any credibility built up, or has a bright future, will want to start their careers with a team that is not a contender, or potentially close to being a contender this coming season.
Girardi chose to stay in New York with the Yankees because his family is there and the Yankees are willing to spend big money on players to put a team they feel is going to contend every year that he is under contract. Why would he ditch that security and potential for a team of unknowns? That could be career suicide for him, something he may never be able to overcome.
As for Martinez, this one is a question mark. He studies under Joe Maddon, and has been for years. You would think that someone learning from Maddon would be an ideal candidate for any managerial job because he is learning from one of the games best. He could take all of Maddon’s best ideas, while mixing in his own unique flavor. He would ideally be a perfect candidate, but for some reason the Cubs passed on him twice for their vacant position. Their may be a very good reason why the Cubs, and every other team has passed on him year after year. Perhaps he is not as ready to lead his own ball club as one may assume from the outside looking in. Whatever the reasoning is, I am not in any position to realistically give an opinion. Anything I would say would just be a guess at this point, and will remain such until he gets a gig somewhere and is finally given that chance. Perhaps by then we will see why teams have continued to pass on him year after year. Or maybe he will have figured out a better way to sell teams on him, and do a fantastic job. Only time will tell.
However, my favorite responses are when the fans who do not like the hiring of Renteria respond with another unfamiliar name. A lot of fans wanted to see the Cubs hire Torey Lovullo or maybe even AJ Hinch who was also considered.
My question to anyone who would have liked to see either of them named is this. What makes that relatively unknown candidate any better than the one the Cubs hired? Had you honestly heard of either of them before their names were brought up in the managerial search? Chances are that you had not. You grasped to the idea of one of them strictly based on the performance of the team while they were there, being lead by someone else.
This is particularly true with Lovullo, who was the bench coach for the 2013 World Series champions. He is coming from a championship team, so he must be a better candidate, right? But what do you know about him that would make you think he would actually be a better candidate than Renteria? You probably know just as much about him as you do Renteria at this point, which remains to be not much.
Is Renteria the right choice for the Cubs job? I honestly have no idea if he will be able to do anything to help the state of the ball club, or to advance the players that are already in place, and those who are on their way up to the majors. Will he be able to straighten out Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, while leading Javier Baez, Mike Olt, Junior Lake and Kris Bryant down the road to possible super stardom? Who knows.
But what I do know is that criticizing the hire at this point is relatively pointless. Complaints about him could be completely unwarranted, and leave many fans eating crow if he turns out to be a very successful manager for the Cubs during his time here.
The point is, we do not know enough about him to know yet if this was a good hiring or a complete mistake. Just because you do not know anything about him does not mean he cannot successfully manage a ball club. There are many managers throughout baseball history who have been relatively unknowns when they were hired and they have gone on to have extraordinary careers as the manager of a major league ball club.
If you want examples of people who were relatively unknowns when they were hired who turned out to be a great manager, look no further than Terry Francona, Earl Weaver, Mike Scioscia and the previously mentioned Maddon. Not many people likely heard of any of them before they went on to managerial greatness. They all basically came from out of nowhere, and perhaps their fan bases wondered why these unknowns were hired to lead their ball club as well.
No, I am not saying Renteria is going to be anywhere near as successful as any of them, not at all. I am just using them as examples of unknown people who were hired as Managers, and those decisions turned out to be brilliant moves by that front office.
My whole point is, do not give up on the Cubs or on Renteria before he even has the chance to manage a game. He may be unknown, but that does not reflect on how good of a manager he might be. You just need to give him a chance to either prove you right, or prove you wrong.