9:41 AM CST, November 7, 2013
The Cubs will introduce Rick Renteria as their new manager today. Please hold your applause until you’re done yawning.
The Cubs already have lost that news conference, like it was a home game or something.
Theo Epstein has taken a while to announce a new manager. It’s good to be thorough. The Cubs will be coming back to one of their original choices, a move that that comes after the Red Sox refused to let them talk to someone they might’ve hired. It’s bad to look like another team is pantsing you.
The Red Sox refused to let the Cubs interview bench coach Torey Lovullo. Officially, Boston said it has a hands-off agreement with its former general manager. Unofficially, Boston avenger Larry Lucchino was saying, “Hey, yo, Theo, I got your Torey Lovullo right ‘ere, fella.’’
Epstein figures to tell us Renteria is the right guy, just like he told us Dale Sveum was the right guy before he lost almost 200 games in two seasons and couldn’t make players better. Oops.
Epstein spent a lot of weeks getting it wrong with Sveum. Epstein has spent a lot of weeks considering and vetting even more uninspiring choices this time.
In fact, the more you see a list of candidates who share unending gratitude for any sniff of a major-league managing job and thus would be easily controlled by Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, the less you could see Joe Girardi working out. It seems that when Epstein wants his manager’s opinion, he’ll give it to him.
So, Renteria will be expected to like and develop the Cubs’ young talent presumably because Epstein and Hoyer will make out the lineup for him. Or their metrics will.
Renteria is bi-lingual, something Epstein and his front office believe is a difference-maker. Renteria also has a long history as a teacher while managing at lower levels and coaching in the big leagues. He’s known as a mild-mannered leader, which ought to serve him well with a franchise that is the gold standard in failure.
And then, you watch, Renteria won’t have one of his two options picked up.
I wrote weeks ago that I believed Epstein’s next choice would require a next choice because whoever gets the job this time would likely be a bridge. I could be wrong, but Renteria feels like that kind of interim choice meant to develop talent at the major-league level, a big-league finishing school, if you will, before a game-day savant takes over.
But maybe Renteria manages a game as well as advance reports suggest he develops players. Once he gets the talent, maybe Renteria is better equipped to win than I think. That would save Epstein a lot a misery. He could avoid explaining why he’s searching for Renteria’s successor and is 0-for-2 on managers.
But I wouldn’t bet on that outcome.
You’d hate to think that Epstein caught whatever strain of clown disease Tom Ricketts brought to Wrigley, but in a lot of significant areas, it’s starting to look that way.
Starlin Castro got a new, big deal and got worse. Oops.
Anthony Rizzo cost the Cubs a pitcher, then he got a new, big deal and got worse. Oops.
Edwin Jackson was given a $52 million contract. Oops.
Trying to trade Ryan Dempster was an embarrassing episode. Oops.
The Cubs still don’t have an ace in a game where pitching wins. Oops.
Oh, and attendance has dropped each season since Epstein arrived.
I hope he gets it right from now on. Otherwise, people might start calling him Theo Oopstein.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC