It appears that the last two managerial vacancies in MLB have been filled.
Yesterday, the Seattle Mariners hired Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon as their new manager while the Chicago Cubs are widely expected to name San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria their new skipper on Thursday.
McClendon succeeds Eric Wedge who stepped down at the end of the 2013 season after three years with the Mariners. Wedge missed time this season due to a mild stroke. It is worth noting that McClendon interviewed for the position after the 2010 season before the team hired Wedge. McClendon also interviewed for the Tigers managerial position that ultimately went to Brad Ausmus.
This will mark McClendon's second big league managerial stint. McClendon, who played in the bigs with the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1987-1994, managed the Pirates between 2001 until the middle of the 2005 season. Of course, the Pirates were in the midst of 20 consecutive losing seasons and the Bucs never finished higher than fourth in the NL Central during McClendon's stewardship. McClendon's managerial record in Pittsburgh was 336-446. But McClendon did not have much to work with at the time.
Then again the same could be said of the Mariners. Seattle has had four consecutive losing seasons and has finished under .500 in five of the past six seasons. When your best offensive player is 41-year old Raul Ibanez then you know your team has problems. The M's do have former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez and Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of the rotation, but the rotation thins out considerably after that.
It is not clear what the length of McClendon's contract is, but what is clear is that he will need more than a year to turn around this franchise.
As for the Cubs, they have been trying to turn around their franchise for more than a century. Rick Renteria is but the latest in a long line of poor schleps who have bestowed with the thankless job of managing the Cubs (including the infamous College of Coaches experiment of 1961-1962). Renteria "succeeds" Dale Sveum who was fired with a year remaining on his contract. It remains to be seen if Renteria will get to complete the three years on his contract.
Renteria has spent the past decade with the Padres organization as a minor league manager before being promoted to the Padres coaching staff in 2011. Earlier this year, Renteria managed Team Mexico during the World Baseball Classic. Previously, Renteria had spent several seasons as a minor league manager in the Florida Marlins system. He also played parts of five seasons in the bigs as a utility infielder with the Pirates, Cubs and Marlins when he was known as Rich Renteria.
All I can say to Renteria is good luck because he will surely need all that he can get at Wrigley Field.
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