CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago White Sox have hired former Cubs manager Rick Renteria as their bench coach.
Renteria managed the young Cubs to 73 wins in 2014. The North Siders were planning to bring him back for a second season before Joe Maddon became available.
The Cubs jumped at the chance to hire one of the game’s top managers, and that resulted in an awkward split with Renteria.
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”I don’t think we treated him entirely fairly,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. ”What happened was based on circumstances. Obviously we’re thrilled with Joe. We had a wonderful year, but Ricky deserved better and I’m glad he gets a chance with the White Sox.”
The Cubs won 97 games and reached the NL Championship Series with Maddon, slugger Anthony Rizzo, rookies Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, and ace Jake Arrieta leading the way.
The White Sox reached out to Renteria about joining the organization about a year ago, but general manager Rick Hahn said the timing ”was not right.” With Mark Parent being let go as bench coach following this season, it created an opening.
The White Sox began the year with high expectations after making some splashy moves, only to finish fourth in the AL Central with 76 wins. They have three straight losing seasons and are 297-351 in four years under manager Robin Ventura.
Renteria is expected to work with young position players in Carlos Sanchez, Micah Johnson, Tyler Saladino, Avisail Garcia and Trayce Thompson.
”He was a very clear fit for a number of reasons,” Hahn said. ”His experience both as a big league manager and bench coach, on a major league coaching staff as well as his managerial experience in the minors, his former playing career were all positives in his favor as well as his high baseball IQ, communication skills, high energy. Really, the list goes on with positives in his favor.”
The White Sox also hired Greg Sparks as the assistant hitting coach Tuesday. He spent the past 19 seasons with the Oakland organization.