Renteria ready to battle for position in Cincinnati

Feb. 18, 2011

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — It isn’t often — probably never — that a baseball player wins the World Series MVP trophy then has to put his hat in his hand and go begging for employment, carrying his resume in his pocket.

Though that certainly was the case for shortstop Edgar Renteria — World Series MVP for the San Francisco Giants one day and unemployed the next.

The Giants did offer him a contract for 2011, but the 35-year-old Colombian considered the monetary figures a tad insulting and said good-bye.

On a chilly, cloudy Friday morning, Renteria reported to his new team. And he was bluntly honest when asked why he signed with the Reds.

“Because they offered me a job and they signed me,” he said. “So here I am.”

Renteria wasn’t signed to be the starting shortstop for the defending National League Central champions. Ostensibly, he is the team’s version of State Farm, Geico and Progressive — just insurance for three positions (shortstop, third base, second base).

Shortstop, for the first time, belongs to young defensive dandy Paul Janish, his first opportunity at regularity. And Renteria says he understands.

“First of all, it’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. “From what I saw last year, this team has a lot of future and I always like to play for a team that wants to compete.”

Since his career began in 1996, Renteria has played on three World Series teams — Florida (1997), St. Louis (2004) and San Francisco (2010) —  so he knows what championship teams are all about.

And he has familiarity with Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who was GM in St. Louis for the six years Renteria was there.

“I have a lot of respect for Walt and we worked together for six years in St. Louis,” said Renteria. “And he is giving me another chance.”

Although he hasn’t played much at second base, Renteria said, “I took a lot of ground balls at second base last year, just in case, y’know. But my position is shortstop, even though I’ll play whatever position the skipper wants me to play.”

Manager Dusty Baker wants him to play shortstop, third base and second base — mostly in back-up and emergency situations.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Renteria play second base, but we’ll work him out there,” said Baker. “That’s a total different thing, having runners coming at you with your back turned after all those years facing them as a shortstop coming across the bag. You can see