Epstein: Ross among many possible Cubs manager candidates

Epstein: Ross among many possible Cubs manager candidates

While acknowledging that former David Ross is a potential candidate for to be the Cubs’ next manager, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Monday that the former Chicago catcher far from the only one.

“He’s on our broad list of candidates,” Epstein said during a press conference Monday.

The Cubs and Joe Maddon announced Sunday that they mutually agreed it was time to part ways.

Ross was a member of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series-winning team, and the ESPN baseball broadcaster said he would be interested if the opportunity arose.

“I think my heart is drawn to that dugout a little bit,” Ross said Sunday. “I’ve got a lot of thinking to do if this gets presented to me as everyone says will happen. I’m sure waiting for that phone call.”

Ross also called the Cubs’ job “one of the best jobs in baseball.”

Epstein emphasized, however, that the team is looking forward, not backward.

“David Ross has a lot of great things going for him,” Epstein said. “His connection to the players on this team, and especially his connection to the 2016 team, are not necessarily assets that distinguish him or are important to us. … Ross is an attractive candidate, and he’s going to be evaluated on the merits.”

Among the names mentioned in various media reports as possible successors to Maddon are Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada, current Cubs catching coordinator Mark Johnson, former Cubs catcher (and ex-manager of the then-Florida Marlins and the New York Yankees) Joe Girardi and current St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux.

Epstein also Monday that the Cubs “haven’t called to ask for permission on anybody,” but that the front office is “full speed ahead. We’re not going to drag this out any longer than it needs to be, but we’re also going to be thorough.”

The Cubs went 84-78 this season, falling out of contention with a nine-game losing streak in the final two weeks.

In five years with the Cubs, Maddon went 471-339, leaving him with a 1,252-1,068 overall regular-season mark, counting brief stints with the California/Los Angeles Angels and nine years with the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. In 2008, he led Tampa Bay to its lone World Series appearance.

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