CHICAGO (AP) Cubs manager Rick Renteria says he's focusing on his job and not the possibility that he might be replaced by former Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon.
Renteria acknowledges in a statement released through his agent on Monday that he's aware of speculation about his job. He says he will ''continue to focus my offseason preparation on achieving the goal we established from the start: bringing a championship to Chicago.''
Renteria led the Cubs to a 73-89 record in his first season, but the vibe around the team is changing.
Highly touted prospects such as Jorge Soler and Javier Baez arrived in the majors. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo had bounce-back seasons, and the long-awaited renovation to Wrigley Field just got underway.
The Cubs believe they are ready to turn the corner after five straight losing seasons. And when Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays last week, there was much speculation that he might wind up in Chicago. Maddon has a history of developing young players and led the Rays to the playoffs four times in nine seasons, with a trip to the World Series in 2008.