Ross' to-do list: Choose Cubs' coaching staff

October 28th, 2019

CHICAGO -- One of David Ross' first orders of business as the Cubs' new manager was to send some text messages to the team's coaching staff from last season. In the coming days and weeks, Ross will need to let each of them know where they stand for 2020.

"I'm going to reach out. I have not started that process just yet," Ross said during his introductory press conference on Monday. "I've had a lot of change in my life the last couple of days and adjusting to that, so I'll know more moving forward."

Here's what is known: The makeup of the coaching staff will ultimately be left up to Ross.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that some of the 2019 staff will likely be back for next season. That said, Epstein noted that Ross has a few others in mind from outside the organization to fill out the first coaching staff of his managerial career.

Ross did not go into details on that topic, but he did note that he will want someone experienced next to him in the dugout.

"The in-game stuff is going to take me a minute," Ross said. "It's going to be important that my bench coach is one step ahead of me until I get that feel back. I've sat in the dugout. I've managed from my seat as a player. But doing it, calling the shots, being one step ahead and being aware of the bullpen, all of those things are going to be a learned task."

Last season's coaching staff included Mark Loretta (bench coach), Tommy Hottovy (pitching coach), Mike Borzello (associate pitching, catching and strategy coach), Lester Strode (bullpen coach), Anthony Iapoce (hitting coach), Terrmel Sledge (assistant hitting coach), Will Venable (first-base coach), Brian Butterfield (third-base coach) and Chris Denorfia (quality assurance coach).

Loretta and Venable interviewed for the Cubs' managerial role, and they have each drawn interest for other managing openings as well.

Epstein was asked if the Cubs might target a former manager for the bench coach job to help Ross' learning curve.

"I think it's important, given David's lack of experience managing," Epstein said, "to have someone who's either managed or been a bench coach who can help him, as he said, stay a step ahead of him early on over the course of the game as he grows into the job. That would make a lot of sense."

Worth noting

• While Ross' contract with the Cubs runs through 2022 with a team option for '23, Epstein's pact with the team only runs through '21. Epstein said there is nothing behind the difference in the length of their respective deals.

"He signed a fairly standard length for a first-year manager," Epstein said. "For us, I never for one second think about my contract or the duration of it. I think we're always trying to act in the best interest of the organization for the long haul, and try hard to make sure that that big picture and the long view manifests in winning seasons in the current year.

"I think he's somebody that the entire organization felt good about. It wasn't one person picking him. He was the consensus choice throughout the organization. Hopefully he's here for a very long time."

• The top two candidates for the Cubs' managerial job came down to Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada. In the end, Epstein said it was Ross' innate leadership and communication skills that made the team feel he was the right choice.

"Joe Espada did a phenomenal job as well," Epstein said. "Whoever lands him as a manager is going to be a very lucky organization because he brings a lot to the table. Both guys performed extremely well. At the end, we came back to David's gifts are really the things that you can't teach."

• Ross said he is not sure what his specific in-game managing style will look like yet. The Cubs manager feels that will evolve as he gains experience.

"Watch the game, see how it plays out," Ross said. "I think managers that kind of go on the preset notion sometimes can get in trouble. So, I'm going to watch the game, let it come to me, feel my way through it. I'm excited to actually figure out what that looks like."