Renteria replaces Dale Sveum, who was fired as the Cubs manager after going 127-197 in two seasons with the team.
Renteria, 51, had been San Diego's bench coach for the past three seasons, and spent a total of six seasons with the team.
Though he doesn't have any Major League managerial experience, he managed in the minor leagues for three seasons and skippered Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic last spring.
More from the Tribune:
Renteria also is bilingual, which will help in communicating more directly with several Cubs players and prospects, namely Starlin Castro, Junior Lake and Javier Baez. Renteria, a first-round pick of the Pirates in the 1980 draft, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Pirates (1986), Mariners (1987-88) and Marlins (1993-94), for whom he earned the nickname the “Secret Weapon’’ after batting .351 in 74 at-bats with runners in scoring position.