The Cubs' self-proclaimed "wide net" for their managerial search took them to California on Monday.
Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer interviewed Rick Renteria, the bench coach for the San Diego Padres. Later this week, Epstein and Hoyer are expected to interview Dave Martinez, a former Cubs and White Sox player and current bench coach of the Tampa Bay Rays.
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It has been just over two weeks since Epstein fired Dale Sveum as manager after a 66-96 season. Before interviewing Renteria, the Cubs' brass met with former big-league managers Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch.
The search took a critical turn last week when former Cubs player and current New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi signed a contract extension to stay in the Bronx. Girardi would have been perhaps the No. 1 candidate on the Cubs' list, based on the criteria stated by Epstein: managerial experience or strong leadership skills.
Renteria, who turns 52 on Christmas Day, might be the most intriguing candidate. Acta and Hinch have managed in the past, but both have losing records. Renteria has sat alongside highly regarded Padres manager Bud Black, and he also managed Team Mexico -- he was born in California and is of Mexican-American heritage -- during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Word out of San Diego is that Renteria is highly respected and personable. After a dust-up in the WBC between Team Mexico and Team Canada, he handled the postgame news conference with aplomb.
Renteria joined Black's staff as first-base coach in 2008. He became bench coach in 2011.
Martinez, 49, played for the Cubs from 1986 through part of the 1988 season and again for part of the 2000 season. He played for the White Sox from 1995-97.
He has been the bench coach for another well-regarded manager, Joe Maddon, since the 2008 season. He is the longest-tenured bench coach in Rays history, and his name has been talked about a lot in recent years when it comes to managerial openings.
The Cubs hope to have their manager in place by the general managers meetings next month. It's possible there could be entire or significant turnover on the coaching staff, too, as Epstein made no guarantees to any of Sveum's coaches.