Chicago Sun-Times baseball writer Gordon Wittenmyer, Thursday, March 10, 2011. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times
The Cubs appear to be closing in on identifying their fourth manager in five years.
Top management officials met with Padres bench coach Rick Renteria on Monday for a daylong interview in California, and they have Rays bench coach Dave Martinez on tap for an interview this week.
Renteria, 51, is the most intriguing candidate among a four-man list and appeared to have a chance to put his name at the top of the list.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer knows Renteria well after spending two years as the Padres’ general manager before going to the Cubs.
Renteria has no big-league managing experience — something the Cubs were looking for — but some insiders consider him among the best at working with young players, particularly Latin players.
That appears to be an even more important trait for the brass after watching several young players struggle this season and with several more expected to transition to the big-league roster over the next two seasons.
Martinez, 49, has the advantage of spending the last six seasons working alongside universally respected Rays manager Joe Maddon in an organization many consider a model for developing and integrating young players into pennant contenders.
Another advantage: As a former Cubs and White Sox outfielder, he’s the only one of the first four candidates with the kind of experience in the market that could help navigate what team president Theo Epstein called the “idiosyncrasies” and “gantlet” of the job.
In the previous 10 days, the Cubs also interviewed former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, who’s a Padres assistant GM with player-development experience, and former Indians and Nationals manager Manny Acta, who has a strong background in modern analytics as well as experience with young teams.