11/8 Renteria gets in touch with new “family”

Rick Renteria got to work right away on Thursday, calling Cubs players to introduce himself.

“I had some responses, and they were extremely positive,” Renteria told MLB Network on Friday. “I’m looking forward to working with all of these guys.

“Hopefully, I’m not the one drawing the attention, and it will be the players,” he said. “If they genuinely believe we believe in them, we have a chance of putting together something special.”

Among the players Renteria spoke to was shortstop Starlin Castro.

“I know a lot has been made about some of the lapses he’s had and his play,” Renteria said in the interview. “This guy is a really good player and he’s a special player.”

Renteria said if he has to be firm with a player, he will be. But he didn’t think that was necessary with Castro.

“It seems like he has a lot of energy,” Renteria said. “He was ready to do whatever it takes. … I think everybody moves more confidently with positive information and positive reinforcement than you do with a heavy hand. That being said, I can bark and bark and bark just like a dog. In the end, players just shut you out. I think you have to build a relationship with players and have them understand when you raise the tone, when things are serious, that it’s for real.”

He recalled a conversation with a priest about raising children, and applies that. The priest said you should always love your children, but you don’t always have to like them.

“I think I take that approach on a daily basis,” Renteria said.

He also learned how to take a calm, but firm approach from Padres manager Buddy Black. Again, the new Cubs manager said he will treat the players like family. Renteria has four children, ranging in ages from 35 to 18. He’s got experience with the youth movement.

Why didn’t Renteria come to Chicago to interview? He had hip replacement surgery on his right hip, and can’t travel yet. The Cubs were expected to hold a press conference later when Renteria can travel.

The Cubs are coming off back to back seasons in which they lost more than 90 games but Renteria is optimistic.

“We feel the players who are coming and the players we have on the Major League roster now are the wave of the future,” Renteria said. “I say the future is now — me personally. Obviously, the ability to go out and get players is going to happen as the club continues to move forward but those are things that will be taken care of down the road. They are very confident in the ability of the players we have now.

“In that vein, I have to take [the front office's] vision, make it my vision and put it forward between the lines,” he said. “We see a club that will go out there hopefully and fight and scratch and claw their way through everything. I might be naive and people think I might be nuts about me believing this club can go out and do certain things but I feel that way and i truly believe it and we’re going to find out. In having some of the conversations I had with some of these kids yesterday, it might be a pretty fun season for us.”

If you look at Renteria’s bio, he was known as “Rich” early in his career. What happened? Renteria said when he came back from an injury, he was with the Marlins, and someone wrote a column about his return. The writer asked Renteria what he was called at home, and he said his family called him “Rickie.” The writer ended the story by saying, “Let’s be ‘Rickie’ people; let’s be like family,” Renteria said.

The next day, he was introduced to pinch-hit for the Marlins, and fans shouted “Rickie.”

“When people would call me ‘Rickie’ from the stands, I knew it was somebody I knew,” Renteria said. “I went to hit that day after the column came out, and as I stood out there warming up, I heard, ‘C’mon, Rickie.'”

He’s been Rick ever since.

– Carrie Muskat

16 Comments

All positive, am hoping it stays that way. The Cubs are young, they have a young manager with a new hip. Things are all moving in a positive direction.

Kudos to Renteria for reaching out to his “family” so quickly! I am impressed with his approach and the fact that he says his players are “human beings” BEFORE the fact that they are baseball players. I believe our guys will respond in a very positive way knowing that they are humans, not robots. That being said, I hope he can find a way to help Castro reach his potential. We have heard Castro say over and over and over again that he wants to do what it takes but he then falls right back into lack of attention mode. I hope that Renteria can be the one to help Castro do what he says he wants to do. I also hope Renteria heals well! Not fun having hip surgery!

Future 2014 Cubs headlines…..

March……Cubs looking good….maybe 90 wins
April………Slow start….manager getting to know players
May………Cubs pitchers need to do better
June………Rizzo & Castro in a slump
July……….Back up the truck…..trade these Bums
August……Cant wait for the Bears to start.
September…..Wait until next year

No one who knows anything is going to predict 90 wins for the Cubs at any point in the next year. After two years, do you still not understand what the Cubs are trying to do and what their timetable is for doing it?

“The Headline” game…good idea CubsTalk!!

Seems as though you relish wallowing in pessimism, Cubs Talk.

Same old record we heard before by the Cubs.

Future 2014 Cubs headlines…..

March……Cubs looking to get Castro and Rizzo back on track….maybe 75 wins.
April………Slow start….manager getting to know players, Castro shows offense.
May………Cubs pitchers do better, but still need help from outside the org.
June………Rizzo & Castro returning to form
July……….Bryant called up, sparks offense, solidifies 3B.
August……Baez makes Cubs debut at SS, bumps Castro to 2B, Barney to bench.
September….. Soler called up, helps push team closer to .500, can it happen?

Thats the great thing about Baseball, anything could happen. Its even possible Wood gets some run support.

What has to happen for the Cubs to win in 2014……

– Rizzo, Castro, Olt and others all hitting the ball.
– Samardzija pitches lights out……no more complaining
– Bullpen not blowing saves
– Baez and others come up and help out.
– Barney hitting around 300
– Play smart baseball

Worst scenario…….

– Rizzo & Castro in major slumps
– Starting pitching fails
– Bullpen fails
– Baez not ready
– Players hitting the DL before trade deadline.
– Renteria wants a divorce from his new “family”

In the hope of not being called a wallower, I can only say that youth brings optimism and the sky is always blue mentality. You can’t expect Renteria to be hired by telling management that the players are a bunch of rockheads only interested in their own stats and perks, would you? Of course not. And it all sounds pretty good, eh? Here’s where I will get close to pessimism and a little wallowing. Youth also brings with it, inexperience, frustration and sometimes disenchantment. Like marriage and children, the “D” word for a baseball manager, because of the natural long season, can make him easily lose his patience and previous good will. And that brings us to another “D” word: Disaster. What Renteria may be hearing if he doesn’t create a consistent, positive lineup or make proper pitching changes, will not be “Rickie”; it will be,”Rookie.” And that’s the truth, fans!

A consistent, positive lineup would be most welcome Diamondjim23 no argument. If the youth has the other “D” word, DESIRE I think Renteria will do just fine…in time…and he deserves some time as does the inexperienced players.

Sure, if everything goes perfectly, the Cubs will be really good and if everything goes wrong, the Cubs will be really bad. That prediction doesn’t exactly take a lot of insight to make. Overall, unless something totally unexpected happens this offseason, I expect the Cubs to be a 70-75 win team next year. 75 if you’re an optimist, 70 if you’re a pessimist. They’ll have a week here and a week there where they look like they’re maybe ready to compete, and they’ll have several weeks where they will look like that 101-loss team of 2012. Really, the number of wins won’t matter for 2014. What will matter is how the younger players progress at all levels of the organization. If Rizzo fails at the big league level, you’d better hope that Dan Vogelbach is hitting the cover off the ball at AA. If Castro fails, you better hope that Baez is ready for the big leagues. Junior Lake, Mike Olt, Arismendy Alcantara, Kris Bryant, Christian Villanueva, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Pierce Johnson, CJ Edwards, you better hope that most of them show progress as they advance through the minors and (some) make it to the majors in 2014. So forget about how many wins the 2014 Cubs will get. Anything over 75 would be a pleasant surprise anyway. What really matters, and what really should be the measure of a successful season in 2014, is how the players mentioned above do. Because if they all do well and they all move up the organizational depth chart, then you might be able to start projecting win totals again in 2015!

That`s intelligent commentary. What I would add is that Bryant could be an option at first base if Rizzo fails. Keep in mind Larry Bowa on the MLB Network the day of the June 2013 draft opined that he projected Bryant as a first baseman rather than a hot corner guy.

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Baez comes up before Bryant…

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