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.”
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.