- Cubs’ former World Series hero-turned-broadcaster David Ross is the favorite to succeed Joe Maddon
- Houston bench boss Joe Espada could succeed Alex Cora in using Astros as a launchpad to becoming a major-league skipper
- Former Cubs players such as Mark DeRosa and Joe Girardi also likely to factor heavily in interview process
While the majority of the baseball world is focused on Oakland and Washington as the starting point of this year’s run to the World Series, around Wrigley Field, the emphasis is on who is going to succeed Joe Maddon as Cubs manager.
Odds to be Next Cubs Manager
Odds taken on 09/30/19.
David Ross Headlines the Favorites
As one of the heroes of that Game 7 win in Cleveland that finally ended Chicago’s long World Series drought, Ross knows all about the current generation of Cubs players.
The question is, after spending the past two seasons as a special assistant to baseball operations, is he far enough removed from the clubhouse to have unquestioned authority in the dugout?
Rizzo on David Ross possibly replacing Joe. pic.twitter.com/HO09sNyRx7
— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) September 29, 2019
However, he is held in high esteem by the players on this team, and that should be a selling point. And as a current analyst with ESPN’s baseball coverage, if the Cubs want to follow in the successful footsteps of hiring a recently retired player with broadcasting experience – as the Yankees and Red Sox did with Aaron Boone and Alex Cora, respectively – they could do a lot worse.
As the Houston Astros bench coach for the last two seasons – succeeding Cora in that role – Espada has had a behind-the-scenes view of what has certainly been one of baseball’s most successful franchises over that span.
After losing bench coach Alex Cora last year & w/potential of losing Joe Espada now, Jeff Luhnow (@jluhnow), #Astros prez/biz ops/GM: "If I'm gonna have to hire a bench coach every year,it's gonna get a little old..It's flattering organizations come to us for potential managers" pic.twitter.com/oV54qzOQlH
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 15, 2018
At 44, he is also young enough to relate to today’s generation of young players, of which the Cubs have many, and he has also served as special assistant to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, as well as being on Girardi’s Yankees staff for two seasons. If the Cubs pass on Espada, it seems only a matter of time before someone else picks him up.
Much like Ross, DeRosa has taken the post-playing career route of getting into broadcasting, in his case spending the last six seasons with MLB Network. And like Girardi and Ross, as a former Cub, if only for two seasons, he is fully aware of the expectations that come with being the team’s skipper.
Hensley Meulens & the Outsiders
As hitting coach under Bruce Bochy for the San Francisco Giants, Meulens saw the inner workings of a truly successful major-league team, with the Giants capturing three World Series in five years.
He was also invited to interview for the Yankees vacant managerial position, and if could well be a contender for the vacant Giants job now that Bochy has decided to call it quits.
The search for the @Yankees’ new skipper is reportedly down to Aaron Boone and Hensley Meulens after Carlos Beltran has been informed that he is out of the running. https://t.co/q0GHGVSnnJ pic.twitter.com/9zfev7LR5r
— MLB (@MLB) December 2, 2017
An infielder for numerous organizations over a 15-year major-league career, Loretta knows the Cubs franchise having spent the past season as bench coach under Joe Maddon. But the attraction for the Cubs would be his nine seasons in the Padres front office as a special assistant, learning the ins and outs of running a major-league baseball franchise from top to bottom.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 4, 2019
Currently a special adviser with the Yankees, Beltran has a sparkling 20-year playing career to draw on, and at 40 is still young enough to relate to today’s ball players. He was asked to interview for the Yankees job that ultimately went to Aaron Boone shortly after retiring, but has been heavily involved with the Bronx Bombers in his current role and understands the demands of the job.
After two spells with the Cubs as a player, Girardi knows the North Side of Chicago as well as anyone. And after guiding the Yankees to their 27th and most recent World Series victory, he knows full well the importance of managing expectations in a pressure-filled environment.
"You get a chance to watch everyone else celebrate."
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 24, 2018
A player that Cubs president Theo Epstein knows very well from his days with the Boston Red Sox, Youkilis has spent the past five years as a special assistant with the Cubs. A long shot for the Cubs job, at just 40 years old, Youkilis has time on his side.
Verdict: At +200, Ross is the favorite, and the only candidate mentioned by name by Epstein so far. But Espada arguably represents the best value at +300.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.