CARLSBAD, Calif. — One day after the Cubs said Joe Maddon will play out the last year of his contract without an extension, the White Sox revealed Tuesday that they have quietly extended manager Rick Renteria’s contract.
“We don’t tend to advertise these things,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during a media session at the general managers meetings. “We extended him awhile back.”
That was as specific as Hahn would get, refusing to say how long the extension is.
“I know it’s been in a story in the local market recently, but from my standpoint, the length of contracts for pro sports executives or managers isn’t really that relevant,” Hahn said.
That’s not true, of course. It’s especially relevant in this case because it signals the club’s intentions for leadership of its rebuild, specifically its faith in Renteria as a potential playoff manager.
Renteria, who was fired by the Cubs after his first season as a big-league manager in 2014 to make room for Maddon, originally signed a three-year deal with the Sox, through 2019, reportedly worth $3.6 million (including $1.3 million for next season).
“Very happy that the organization I care for deeply feels that myself and our staff are moving in the right direction,” Renteria said via text message. “We will continue to give it our all as long as we are here.”
Contributing: Daryl Van Schouwen
Different strokes . . .
While Hahn expects to address much of his club’s needs this winter through free agency, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said much of his early focus is on trade talks.
“Given where we are as a roster, it’ll probably be more focused on GM talk, more trade talk,” said Hoyer, whose high-priced roster has left the Cubs cash-strapped as they try to bolster the bullpen. “We do feel like our answers are internal, and we need to focus on getting our players to maximize their potential.
“But that said, I think we’re open for business and listening, and that’ll probably be our focus more than shopping at the top of the market.”
After mentioning the free-agent route for potentially filling his team’s pitching needs, Hahn added:
“If something appealing in trade presents itself that fits with the long-term forecast of what we’re trying to do, that’s going to trump things — that’s going to be a bad word today. . . .
“Flashbacks to two years ago on this Tuesday.”
This and that
The Cubs as surprise players for a big-ticket free agent this winter? “I’m not ruling anything out,” said team president Theo Epstein, who acknowledged that it would require creative financial work with “a lot of moving parts” on their payroll.
† Hahn said that when talking to veteran pitcher/clubhouse mentor James Shields after declining the $16 million club option on his contract, they left the door open to bringing him back next year, depending on how the offseason plays out for both parties.
† More changes could be in store for the Cubs’ coaching staff, which is expected to be finalized in the next week or so. That includes a replacement for assistant hitting coach Andy Haines, who was hired away by the Brewers to be their top hitting coach. Eric Hinske, a member of the staff before the Angels hired him away last year, could be in play for a return after the Angels cleaned house following a managerial change.
Contributing: Daryl Van Schouwen