The Chicago Cubs could be about to embark on an offseason of significant change, and it could start at the catcher position.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, multiple teams believe that the Cubs will make catcher Willson Contreras available for trade this offseason as part of a retooling effort.
Barring any changes, the Cubs are likely facing a payroll approaching $190 million for Opening Day 2020. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are both heading for arbitration hearings that will make them both more expensive. Contreras is, too, and the price will only keep going up. Yasmani Grandal leads a crop of intriguing free agent catchers, and the Cubs may go that route instead.
Contreras hit .272 with a career-high 24 home runs for the Cubs last season in 105 games. He has been a source of frustration for the team at times, which could also help them be comfortable with opting to move on.
Joe Maddon wishes his former team well but has a dream that involves beating them.
Maddon was introduced by the Los Angeles Angels during a press conference in Anaheim on Thursday. The new team manager spoke about his time with the Cubs and said he has fond feelings for his former franchise. He also shared that his “pipe dream” is to play the Cubs in the World Series and beat them.
Maddon spent the past five seasons as the Cubs’ manager before they let his contract expire after failing to make the playoffs this season. He had a .581 winning percentage with the Cubs, took them to the NLCS three times, and finally broke the curse by winning the World Series in 2016.
The 65-year-old spent 31 years in the Angels’ organization as a player and a coach at multiple levels of the team’s system. He was the bench coach when the Angels won the World Series in 2002.
After several weeks of speculation and a series of interviews, the Chicago Cubs settled on David Ross as their next manager.
What went into that decision? That’s something we’ll find out in the coming days and weeks, but multiple early reports indicate that a mock 2020 training camp speech, which the Cubs requested from their interviewees, helped put Ross over the top.
Hiring someone over their improvisational theater is certainly a unique new-age approach, but it does have some merit. Emotions are key in sports, whether you’re managing them or using them to motivate, so if Ross was able to impress to that degree with nothing on the line and no players in front of him, it’s a safe bet he can dial that up to 100 in a real scenario.
Plus, it’s not like this is entirely new territory for the Cubs. During their managerial search in November 2011, they had Dale Sveum conduct a live press conference, complete with questions from the media.
An old favorite has apparently become the new favorite in Chicago.
David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 reports that the Chicago Cubs are expected to hire their former catcher, David Ross, as the team’s new manager as early as Thursday — the first World Series off day.
The 42-year-old Ross, who was hired as a special assistant in 2017, would become the Cubs’ youngest manager since Jim Riggleman was hired just weeks prior to his 42nd birthday in 1994. It would also be his first coaching job ever.
“I always have greater comfort hiring for roles in which the person has done the role, but there are ways that can be overcome,” team president Theo Epstein said at the end of the 2019 regular season. “Belief, skills, personal attributes can all outweigh a lack of experience.”
During his playing days, Ross was on two World Series-winning teams — the Boston Red Sox in 2013 and, of course, the Cubs in 2016.
In addition to Ross, the Cubs also interviewed Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada, former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta for their manager’s job.
The Chicago Cubs may have the best managerial position available this offseason, and it seems they might be leaning toward giving it to a first-timer.
The Cubs have spoken to several in-house candidates like Mark Loretta and Will Venable, as well as ex-managers such as Joe Girardi and Gabe Kapler. However, they are seen as less likely to land the job compared with David Ross. According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN, industry sources believe the Cubs’ job is “Ross’ to lose.”
The biggest thing working in Ross’ favor, according to Rogers, is his willingness to hold players accountable. A sense developed in 2019 that the Cubs became mistake-prone, and manager Joe Maddon wasn’t aggressive enough in calling it out. The Cubs also felt that they didn’t have the type of veteran personalities in the clubhouse who would do so for him. Ross was willing to do so as a player, and that is regarded as a positive. That’s in contrast to Girardi, who may not have the right attributes the Cubs want despite a more impressive resume.
Ross would be a risk. He has no coaching experience, though he knows the Cubs well from his playing days and has served as a special assistant since his retirement after the 2016 season. He certainly seems to want the job, and it sounds like the Cubs might be leaning toward giving it to him.
The Houston Astros may be locked up with the New York Yankees in a contentious ALCS, but bench coach Joe Espada is already looking ahead — at least a little bit.
Mark Feinsand of MLB Network reports that Espada is in Chicago on Monday and will interview with the Cubs for their vacant manager position.
Although managerial interviews during the playoffs aren’t entirely out of the norm, it’s at least somewhat surprising to see the Astros allowing Espada to interview ahead of a crucial Game 3. However, the Cubs are adamant they’d like to wrap up their search as quickly as possible and were determined to meet with Espada before a decision on their next manager was made.
In addition to Espada, the Cubs will also interview former Philadelphia Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler, according to MLB.com beat writer Jordan Bastian.
Kapler is also high on the list to take over in San Francisco, and is scheduled to meet with the Giants later this week.
Joe Girardi interviewed with the Chicago Cubs for their manager job on Wednesday, and the process lasted eight hours, according to a report.
Cubs reporter Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times said on Thursday that Girardi’s interview went most of the day. He included a few photos in his tweet of Girardi with Cubs executives.
Wittenmyer’s tweet said David Ross would interview Thursday and that Joe Espada and Carlos Beltran were other names on the Cubs’ list. Wittenmyer reported late on Thursday that Ross’ interview went half as long as was characterized by Ross as “good”.
The Cubs have also interviewed Mark Loretta and Will Venable for the job.
The Chicago Cubs will continue their search this week for a new manager, and that will include interviews with some former catchers.
According to both 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine and the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzalez, Joe Girardi is set to interview for the job on Wednesday. David Ross is also expected to interview for the job this week.
Girardi, 51, spent ten years managing the New York Yankees and managed them to one World Series win. He managed the Florida Marlins in 2006 and was fired after the season despite being named Manager of the Year. He currently serves as an analyst for FOX and also is receiving heavy interest from the Mets. He began his playing career with the Cubs.
Ross, 42, played two seasons for the Cubs (2015-2016) and helped them win the World Series. He works as an analyst for ESPN.
The Cubs have also interviewed bench coach Mark Loretta and first base coach Will Venable, according to Gonzalez.
Of the four, Girardi is the only one with previous pro baseball managerial experience.
Joe Maddon’s tenure as manager of the Chicago Cubs is coming to an unsurprising end.
The Cubs announced the move Sunday ahead of the final game of the season, following a meeting between Maddon and team president Theo Epstein on Saturday evening.
Maddon will always be remembered as the manager who helped deliver the Cubs’ first World Series in 108 years. He’s 471-338 as the team’s skipper in a tenure that included four postseason appearances. In the final year of his contract, however, the Cubs collapsed down the stretch and will miss the playoffs, which gave Epstein little choice.
As late as August, Maddon believed he’d get a new contract. Things changed in September, though, and given how the team’s season finished, this will not come as a shocker. Maddon should not be out of work for very long.
The Chicago Cubs face the possibility of missing the playoffs as they continue to flounder toward the finish line. That has left manager Joe Maddon doing everything he can to try to right the ship.
On Friday, Maddon delivered his latest assessment: the Cubs have been tight lately, and he’s trying to address it.
The Cubs had lost five of their last six before salvaging Thursday’s game against the San Diego Padres. That left them tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the second wild card spot. Though the Brewers lost Christian Yelich for the season, they do have the easier schedule down the stretch.
There’s even more to it, though. Maddon is currently a lame duck manager with no contract for next season. Though he had hoped to get a new one, it’s hard to see that happening if the Cubs miss the playoffs given the expectations they had for the season. Maddon may well be managing for his job down the stretch.