The Chicago Cubs front office has a plan. Rick Renteria is a part of that plan. His role, you ask? To fill the void in the dugout until a playoff run is imminent. It’s nothing against Renteria, but there’s no way he will be the guy Theo and Jed want guiding the North Siders into contention.
Names will emerge, and the first legitimate candidate might just be their man. Ron Gardenhire was fired by the Minnesota Twins on Monday after a 13 year tenure. Gardenhire led the Twins to six A.L. Central crowns before a pattern of losing formed in Minnesota due to star player’s injuries and losing remaining stars to free agency.
Change of Scenery
Gardenhire was the longest tenured manager in MLB next to Angels manager Mike Scioscia, and has averaged 66 wins since his last A.L. Central title. Gardenhire has had to deal with a lot in Minnesota.
Let’s start with personnel. Over the last seven seasons, he’s lost Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano, and Justin Morneau. He’s also only had his best player, Joe Mauer, for an average 115 games since 2010.
His last four top hitters not named Mauer or Morneau have been Danny Santana, Brian Dozier, Ben Revere, and Michael Cuddyer. Let that sink in. I’m sure the firing came as a sigh of relief for Gardenhire.
A change of scenery could benefit both the Twins and their now former manager. Gardenhire was named Manager of the Year as recently as 2010. He won six A.L. Central Championships with an average payroll of 20th in baseball. If the Ricketts can even increase the Cubs’ payroll to the top 10 again, that will give Gardenhire more than enough to work with.
Gardenhire: Baseball Lifer and Player’s Coach
Gardenhire has spent the past 27 years of his career in the Minnesota Twins organization in one form or another. He played for five seasons with the Mets. He was a minor league manager for three seasons, first base coach for 11 seasons, and the manager of the Twins for the previous 13 seasons.
So we have been there, and it’s not all these guys that were on that team either, but we have been there, and it can be done, and that’s what you have to explain to these guys. That’s what we talked about. We have been there before. It can be done. You have to go out and win one game today, and then you worry about the next one.
The Cubs need a proven leader, and Gardenhire is exactly that. He knows about coaching young players. In the five seasons he had managing Minnesota to 90-win seasons, the average opening day roster age was 28.08 years old. The Chicago Cubs average age in March of 2014 was 27.4
Gardenhire may be just the first in a long line of legitimate candidates. Rick Renteria may get another year at Wrigley Field. But as the old saying goes, always go with your first instinct.