DETROIT -- Padres bench coach Rick Renteria officially joined the list of Tigers managerial candidates Thursday, interviewing with team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski for the opportunity to replace the recently retired Jim Leyland.
Renteria did not come in as a household name, and he brought little recent history with Dombrowski. However, he was a player on Dombrowski's first team in Florida before managing in the Marlins' farm system in the late 1990s. Renteria's extensive experience as a Minor League manager and a big league coach, however, is almost Leyland-like.
Renteria played for Leyland when he made his Major League debut for the Pirates in 1986, Leyland's first year in Pittsburgh. Renteria, a former first-round Draft pick, had a few cups of coffee with the Mariners in the late '80s before playing the 1993 season with the expansion Marlins at age 31.
Renteria found a place with the Marlins in his post-playing career, becoming the first former Florida player to manage in the organization. He was the Midwest League Manager of the Year for Kane County in 1999, moved up to Double-A Portland after that, then moved into the Padres' farm system 10 years ago as a Class A coach.
Renteria's first coaching chance in the big leagues came after Bud Black became Padres manager. Renteria joined Black's staff as the first-base coach following the 2007 season, then became the bench coach three years ago.
Renteria is the fourth person to interview with Detroit for the job, joining Lloyd McClendon, Tim Wallach and Brad Ausmus. There is a strong possibility the Tigers will ask permission to interview Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo now that Boston's season has ended with a World Series title.
The 51-year-old Renteria, meanwhile, has now interviewed for three managerial jobs this October. He reportedly had a strong interview for the Cubs opening before talking with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik about the Seattle job a week ago.
Both the Cubs and M's are in rebuilding phases. The veteran-laden Tigers comprise a different project entirely, with their win-now focus. Renteria's ability to work with young players in San Diego, combined with his managerial track record from the Minors, apparently made an impression in baseball circles.