Since the news dropped of Joe Maddon opting out of his contract in Tampa Bay on Friday, the Cubs haven’t said a word.
Current Cubs manager Rick Renteria broke the silence on Monday, releasing a statement to Bruce Miles and Gordon Wittenmyer via his agent:
“I was hired nearly a year ago to be the Chicago Cubs manager. Notwithstanding all the speculation, I continue to focus my offseason preparation on achieving the goal we established from the start: bringing a championship to Chicago.”
Renteria is not expected to comment further on the matter.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of the statement. One way to read it is that it sounds like Renteria will be staying with the organization, perhaps in a capacity other than manager.
The other thing to note is that Renteria focuses more on the past (that he was hired a year ago), but doesn’t talk about continuing as manager in 2015.
At this point, I don’t see Renteria staying on as manager; the Cubs’ silence says a lot. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like for Renteria to be manager next year if Maddon does not come to the Cubs.
Meanwhile, Buster Olney said in his podcast it’s “basically a done deal” that Maddon will be the new Cubs manager.
So I suppose it’s a matter of whether Renteria sticks with the organization or not. What a crazy turn of events this has been.
Edwards and AFL notes
Cubs top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards has been named to the East roster for the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game on Saturday.
Edwards has been very effective thus far in the AFL, including his start on Monday for the Mesa Solar Sox in which he pitched three hitless shutout innings. Overall, he boasts a 1.80 ERA.
Monday’s game between the Sox and Salt River Rafters ended in a 3-3 tie. Jacob Hannemann had three hits (two triples) and one run scored, while Dan Vogelbach went 2-for-5.
Also playing in the game for the Rafters was Twins prospect (and overall top prospect in baseball) Byron Buxton, who exited the game after injuring his finger diving for a ball in the outfield. Buxton only played 31 games in 2014 because of various injuries.
In other AFL news, Jim Callis has released his overview of the Cubs prospects playing in the league. He highlights Vogelbach and how he has worked at improving his conditioning and defense at first base.
Vogelbach is going to have a difficult time cracking the Cubs lineup anytime soon with Anthony Rizzo in his way. Barring a serious Rizzo injury, I see Vogelbach possibly being a key trade chip in the future.
* Jesse Rogers talked to an unnamed executive who discusses the unique situation that is the current Joe Maddon drama. How will the Cubs balance the opportunity for Maddon while at the same time not upsetting current manager Rick Renteria? “All you can do is the best you can to treat (Renteria) with as much respect as you can. But there is no perfect way to do this,” the executive said.
* Rogers goes through the other possible landing spots for Maddon, and basically comes down to Seattle and Milwaukee, but he doesn’t give them much of a chance either. It’s an interesting take on the situation and worth a read.
* Cubs quality assurance coach Jose Castro has been hired by the Atlanta Braves to be their assistant hitting coach. As Patrick Mooney points out, Castro is a Rick Renteria guy and may be yet another indication that Renteria is on the way out.
* Eric Hinske, the Cubs’ assistant hitting coach, was approached by the Yankees to fill their hitting coach vacancy but turned them down, according to the New York Post. Hinske was the Cubs’ first-base coach last season. Have to think the opportunity to be a part of something special had an impact on his decision to stay in Chicago.
* Randy Wehofer releases a Cubs Winter League report, outlining performances from players such as Manny Ramirez, Junior Lake and Starling Peralta.