BOCA RATON -- Speaking publicly for the first time since the Chicago Cubs fired him as their manager 12 months ago, new Chicago White Sox bench coach Rick Renteria says he has no hard feelings towards his former employer.
“It was a great experience,” Renteria said on a conference call on Wednesday. “Anyone in that arena knows that change sometimes occurs even as abruptly as it seemed. Things happen.”
The Cubs stated they were bringing Renteria back after his first season in 2014 but then current manager Joe Maddon opted out of his deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. As the Cubs negotiated with Maddon they informed Renteria he might not be back -- then eventually fired him.
“I don’t feel like we treated him entirely fairly,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “Ricky deserved better. I’m glad he gets a chance with the White Sox.”
But in true Renteria fashion he doesn’t hold a grudge. A year off from the game and some distance from his dismissal helped.
“There were a lot of kids over there on that club this year and a lot of people I worked alongside of over there that deserve to have as much success as they possibly can," Renteria said. "There are no hard feelings. When you step away from it a little bit and you reflect, it’s just a business. It’s just baseball. It doesn’t take away from anything that I believe we brought to the table at the time.”
Some perceived Maddon as undercutting Renteria but all sides insist that wasn’t the case. The two haven’t spoken but Maddon called Renteria who responded with a text.
“There was no need for us to speak,” Renteria said.
Renteria’s current attitude about being dismissed may have been different a year ago. It’s one reason he didn’t grant interviews until getting back into the game.
“It would be foolish to not feel you got the wind blown out of you a little bit,” Renteria said. “You take a step back, I’m sure there was no intent on anyone’s side to create a difficult situation.
“Give it some space and time. You really don’t want that to be the story.”