By all accounts, new Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria is the optimistic sort. Considering he’s at the helm of a team long known as the Lovable Losers whose fans are always looking towards “next year”, it seems like a perfect fit.
One reaction to Renteria’s abounding optimism is to wonder what will happen when the Cubs start piling on losses. The better question is what happens if a very young team in Chicago decides the optimism is founded and turns it into confidence.
While the Cubs don’t have many established superstars, there are a number of players who have plenty of talent and are just short in experience. Mike Olt, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Ryan Kalish and Junior Lake are all players who have made numerous top prospects lists. What happens if Renteria is able to keep them all healthy and get them to realize their potential at the same time? It could translate into a Cubs team that is quite a bit better than experts expected.
A quick turnaround from a team that lost more than 90 games in 2013 to a contender isn’t really expected, even among the most optimistic of fans. Stranger things have happened though. The Baltimore Orioles weren’t expected to contend in 2012 and they went to the playoffs.
For good young players, a little confidence can go an awful long way and that confidence can breed winning pretty quickly. The Cubs aren’t headed to the World Series this year, but a manager who is espousing his confidence in his young team from Opening Day to game 162 could make the difference for the Cubs.
That might be the exact reason who Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer settled on Renteria in the first place.