Randy Smith on Rick Renteria, pictured: 'Rick has great rapport with players. That's one of his big assets.' (Pat Carter / Associated Press)
Detroit – What do two of the Tigers’ managerial candidates have in common?
Both Brad Ausmus and Rick Renteria work for the San Diego Padres -- Ausmus as a special assistant and Renteria as their bench coach.
And both get high praise from Randy Smith, the Tigers’ former general manager who is a vice-president of player development and international scouting with the Padres.
Ausmus was a catcher on the Tigers when Smith was the team’s general manager. In fact, Smith as a general manager (beginning with San Diego) traded for Ausmus twice, and also traded him away twice.
Renteria has been in the Padres’ organization since 2003, beginning as a minor-league coach, also managing in the minors, and getting his current role of bench coach in 2011.
“I’m as sure that Brad will be an outstanding manager as I was when we hired Bruce Bochy,” Smith told The Detroit News during a phone conversation Monday. “He has a great temperament for it, and will take into any managing job his knowledge of the pitching end of it.
“Wherever he gets an opportunity, I think he’s going to do a great job. He’s one of those guys you could see with a managing future when he was a player.”
Smith added: “Managing isn’t rocket science, it’s people science, which is one of the reasons Brad will be good.”
Regarding Renteria, Smith said, “Rick has great rapport with players. That’s one of his big assets. He’s been under the radar a little because he managed in the minors, but he’s also managed (Mexico) in the World Baseball Classic and has been our bench coach now for a few years.
“He’s done a lot of things and is a guy I’m also sure will be an excellent manager in the majors.”