Some of the main candidates to take the Cubs vacant managerial job have been reported to be Manny Acta, Rick Renteria, A.J. Hinch and Davey Martinez. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, one clear-cut frontrunner has emerged.
The support for Rick Renteria is staggering and he has emerged as clear cut favorite to be #Cubs manager— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 19, 2013
This may not be a very popular pick because, well, Renteria isn't very well known. A lot of managers start out that way, though. How many people knew Joe Maddon before he became the Rays manager, for example?
And Renteria is a great baseball man.
He played in the minors in parts of 14 seasons and the majors in parts of five as a utility infielder. He then managed in the minors for several years before becoming a hitting coach in the Padres organization. He later returned to managing in the Padres system, being promoted to Triple-A and then eventually was promoted to a major-league coaching job in 2008. The Padres liked his work well enough to make him the bench coach (MLB's version of assistant manager) in 2011.
The Cubs are said to want a manager who is good at helping develop young talent. The Padres have produced lots of good, young talent in recent years (Jedd Gyorko, Yonder Alonso, Everth Cabrera, Mat Latos, etc.). Keep in mind Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer came from San Diego, so he's familiar with Renteria's work.
Another thing the Cubs are reportedly seeking is a bilingual manager, as the Cubs are stocked with lots of Latino players, both in the majors (i.e. Starlin Castro) and among their highly-touted prospects (i.e. Jorge Soler). Renteria qualifies here, as he can speak spanish fluently and is of Mexican-American descent. He was actually Mexico's manager in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
So while Renteria isn't a sexy name to casual fans, he appears to be more than qualified for the Cubs job.