Cubs officially announce Rick Renteria as their new manager

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UPDATE: It’s official:

Wednesday, 6:53 PM: After seven years managing in the minors and six more coaching in the majors, Rick Renteria has hit the big time. The Cubs will name him their new manager on Thursday, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman and others are reporting.

Renteria played parts of five seasons in the majors as a light-hitting infielder from 1986-1994. His only season with more than 100 plate appearances was 1993, when he played in 103 games for the expansion Marlins franchise and hit .255/.314/.326 in 263 at-bats. He started out managing in the Marlins system in 1998 and he joined the Padres organization in 2003, working his way up from A-ball hitting coach to Triple-A manager to major league bench coach.

Renteria, who was with the Padres as a bench coach when current Cubs GM Jed Hoyer worked in San Diego, recently got Jake Peavy’s endorsement for the job.

“He’ll make an outstanding manager if the Cubs do go that way,” Peavy told CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes. “He brings a lot of intangibles. He knows the game, is gonna work hard, gonna get after it. He just holds guys accountable, but at the same time has a great relationship with the players. He gets the best out of guys and I’m pulling for him to get that job.”

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.