Renteria: No ill will toward Cubs for awkward firing
CHICAGO (AP) New Chicago White Sox bench coach Rick Renteria insisted he has no ill will toward the Cubs for his awkward firing as their manager last fall.
Renteria acknowledged he was taken aback when the Cubs fired him to clear the way for Joe Maddon. But he also said there never were any hard feelings.
''It would be foolish for anybody that's doing something and has given themselves to a task to not feel like you get the wind blown out of you a little bit,'' he said Wednesday. ''But, again, you take a step back. You regroup. I'm sure quite frankly that there was no intent on anybody's side to create a difficult situation.''
He said it's ''in the past'' and that there are ''no hard feelings.''
''There never was,'' he added.
Renteria had stayed quiet about his dismissal because he wanted the focus to remain on the progress the Cubs made during his lone season managing them in 2014. But Wednesday's introductory conference call for the White Sox largely focused on that situation.
Renteria said he is ''totally, completely happy with the opportunity'' the Cubs gave him, that his firing was ''just business, just baseball.''
The Cubs were planning to bring back Renteria for a second season after he led a young team to 73 wins. That changed once Maddon became available.
The Cubs saw a chance to land one of the game's best managers and jumped at the opportunity. They also signed Jon Lester to their rotation, another strong signal that they were ready to start winning again. With Jake Arrieta emerging as a Cy Young candidate and rookies Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber joining slugger Anthony Rizzo in the lineup, the Cubs won 97 games and reached the NL Championship Series.
Their rise ended a five-year run of losing seasons and sparked hope that a championship drought that dates to 1908 will soon end.
''I was very, very happy to see all those kids have success,'' Renteria said. ''You're always pulling for a lot of those guys because you saw them. You can't guarantee, but you can kind of see the skillset that they brought to the table. You've got to commend everybody that was there and helped them along their way.''
Would the Cubs have done as well under him?
''For me to now come forward and say that I would have done this or done that, it really has no place,'' he said. ''The reality is I wasn't there. Joe Maddon was there. The club had a tremendous amount of success. I'm very happy for all of them.''
Renteria said Maddon called shortly after his hiring and that he responded with a text. But Renteria did not see a need for a lengthy conversation.
The Cubs have repeatedly acknowledged the awkward handling of the situation, and general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday, ''I don't think we treated him entirely fairly.''
The White Sox reached out to Renteria after the Cubs let him go. But the timing wasn't right.
When the White Sox parted with former bench coach Mark Parent at the end of the season, it opened a spot for Renteria. He waited to see if former Padres manager Bud Black, his friend and ex-boss, would take over the Washington Nationals.
That did not happen, so Renteria wound up on Robin Ventura's staff, instead.
Renteria joins a team that was one of baseball's biggest disappointments last season. The White Sox finished fourth in the AL Central with 76 wins after making a series of splashy moves designed to lift them into playoff contention. The White Sox posted their third straight losing season and fell to 297-351 in four years under Ventura.
''You're always looking for quality people,'' Ventura said. ''Rick has been up there. ... We've always thought highly of him.''