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Ross relies on staff: 'I don’t believe in autonomy'

@Russ_Dorsey1
January 18, 2020

CHICAGO -- As David Ross prepares for his first season as a manager in the big leagues, the new Cubs skipper has made it no secret that he will rely heavily on his coaching staff as he adjusts to what could be a steep learning curve. Ross -- along with

CHICAGO -- As David Ross prepares for his first season as a manager in the big leagues, the new Cubs skipper has made it no secret that he will rely heavily on his coaching staff as he adjusts to what could be a steep learning curve.

Ross -- along with his coaching staff -- met with fans during a panel at Cubs Convention on Saturday to discuss what things they can expect from him in the dugout instead of behind the plate.

“I don’t have all the answers, these guys know that,” Ross said. “I talked with the coaching staff a lot -- did a lot of due diligence and a lot of hard work putting these guys together. Got a lot of experts, a lot of value on the coaching staff that [is] going to help me out. We got guys who are really experienced. I’ve got some new areas that we’re focused on. I’m really excited for our staff.”

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The Cubs’ organizational philosophy of bringing in the different baseball minds has been clear this offseason with the team overhauling its player development infrastructure and processes. Ross has taken the same approach with his staff, bringing a unique melting pot of minds and personalities to the dugout.

Mike Borzello (associate pitching, catching and strategy coach), Tommy Hottovy (pitching coach), Anthony Iapoce (hitting coach), Terrmel Sledge (assistant hitting coach) and Will Venable (third-base coach) have returned from the previous staff assembled by Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and former manager Joe Maddon.

Ross’ additions include Craig Driver (first-base/catching coach) and former big leaguers Mike Napoli (quality assurance coach) and Chris Young (bullpen coach).

“You see the guys I’ve kept from Joe, Theo and Jed hiring already -- a lot of the things will be the same as far as the environment,” Ross said. “I think we’ll all create our own unique identity. I don’t know exactly what type of manager I’m going to be yet. It’s going to take a lot of input, a lot of conversation.

“I don’t believe in autonomy. I think the final decision falls on me when it comes to answering questions, but this is a group that puts a lot of work in.”

New bench coach Andy Green, the former Padres manager, is Ross’ biggest addition this offseason. Green will play a vital role as a sounding board for the first-time manager Ross.

Green had other potential opportunities that could have been appealing, but being able to coach on the Cubs staff was too much to pass up.

“It starts with that guy [Ross] at the end of the table,” Green said. “When you go through the interview process, even though you’re the one being interviewed, you have an opportunity to get a feel for the person you’re going to be working for. Talking to a number of different guys that were going to be managing in different places and front offices, that’s the guy I wanted to work for. Probably for the same reason you guys love him.”

With the Cubs failing to reach the playoffs last season and the roster mostly unchanged, it has left some of the team's fans feeling unsettled. While some expect Ross to be the opposite of his predecessor Maddon to address some of the team’s internal areas of need, he’s going to address things in his own way, even with players he previously has called his teammates.

“I said this last night: It’s like being a dad,” Ross said. “You love your kids, but when they get out of line, you got to set them straight. We’ll have those tough conversations. The great thing is I’m not afraid of those conversations, and I’ve had them for a long time [with those guys].

“On the other side, I expect them to come in when I mess up and hold me accountable,” he continued. “I want them in my office and asking me why I did things and being able to explain myself. I think it’s a two-way street. The way you do that is to communicate. Communicate through the hard times. Communicate through the good times and love them through it all.”

Russell Dorsey is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @Russ_Dorsey1.