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Jilting by Joe Girardi means Cubs must resume search for manager

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Updated: October 10, 2013 12:27AM



With Joe Girardi out of the picture, the Cubs’ search for a manager could go from the most well-known, coveted, locally popular candidate to the closest thing to an ­unknown they could find.

Ever heard of Rick Renteria?

When Girardi ended nearly a weeklong deliberation with his family to choose staying with the New York Yankees over pursuing the Cubs’ job that was his for the taking, he might have opened the door for Renteria. He’s a candidate fans have a right to label an unknown, considering he doesn’t even go by the same name he used when he played in the big leagues.

When a source said this week that the Cubs are unconcerned about landing a “name” candidate if Girardi stays with the Yankees, they weren’t kidding.

Renteria, who went by Rich when he played, managed the Mexican team in the World Baseball Classic last spring and is well known to the Cubs through his two years spent with Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer when Hoyer was the Padres’ GM.

Insiders say the Cubs’ priority in choosing their next manager is the ability to help young players transition and develop in the big leagues.

Renteria, 51, admired for his leadership skills by the Cubs’ brass, also is considered the top available candidate when it comes to developing young Latin players, according to a source.

It could give him the inside track on becoming the Cubs’ fourth manager in five years when he meets with team president Theo Epstein and Hoyer for his interview next week.

Two other candidates already have interviewed: former Arizona manager A.J. Hinch and former Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta.

Hinch is the Padres’ assistant general manager who has worked on the player-development side. He is considered smart and likeable, also has worked for Hoyer and is familiar with the Cubs’ philosophy. Multiple industry executives say they consider him a head-scratcher of a candidate after a 89-123 stint with the Diamondbacks.

Acta also had losing records in Cleveland and Washington, but is known for embracing analytics and new ideas in managing games, lineups and rosters.

The Cubs also planned to contact the Rays for permission to talk to bench coach Davey Martinez, a former Cub.

Cleveland Indians coach Sandy Alomar Jr. remains in the mix, according to a source.

This part of the process might would not be necessary if Girardi had elected to take the Cubs’ job instead of signing Wednesday for a four-year, $16 million extension.

As if 96 losses weren’t enough, it amounted to another loss considering the overtures made in recent weeks by the Cubs at the ownership and business-operations level.

Girardi was a favorite of then-team president John McDonough in 2006 before then-GM Jim Hendry hired Lou Piniella, and Ricketts ownership four years later coveted him for the job before Hendry hired Mike Quade.

Sources say both sides expressed interest through back channels in recent weeks, though Girardi denied communicating with the Cubs during a media teleconference.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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