Now that David Ross is in the manager's chair, Cubs turn their attention to coaching staff


David Ross' boxes are all (presumably) moved into the manager's office at Wrigley Field and the introductory press conference is in the rearview mirror.

Now the Cubs turn their attention to the rest of the coaching staff.

With the search for Joe Maddon's replacement dominating the focus for Theo Epstein's front office this month, the rest of the coaching staff has been waiting. 

The Cubs have not publicly stated their intentions with the remaining coaches, but there will be some changes coming to the staff. Ross has been around the team as a front office executive for the last three years, so he already has familiarity with a lot of the Cubs coaches, plus he worked closely with catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy (who was then the run prevention coordinator) back when he was playing. 

Ross said Monday he had not yet reached out to the coaches, but was planning to do so very soon. Even though he already has a rapport with the current staff, changes will still be coming. 

"Ultimately, it's his decision and that's the way it was for Joe, too, and everybody before him — the manager's gotta have his coaches," Epstein said. "Rossy knows a lot of these guys having been around and I know he plans on keeping a number of coaches. But there are also some guys outside the organization that he feels will make him better and make us better, so it will be a combination."

The World Series will end Tuesday or Wednesday and then Major League Baseball's offseason will ramp up. Four organizations still have to hire managers and those that have found their new skipper have to finalize their coaching staffs.

The clock is ticking for the Cubs if they're going to make any outside hires — and to let the current coaches know where they stand.

"We need to get on that immediately," Epstein admitted. "There's gonna be a lot of competition for coaches out there, so it's important to strike quickly. We've had a lot of conversations even during the interview process getting a feel for [Ross] on what types of coaches he was looking for and then specific names — guys he thought would make us better."

The big key will be the bench coach, as that could be someone who helps make up for Ross' inexperience as a manager. Mark Loretta served in that capacity for Maddon in 2019, but it was Loretta's first year as a coach of any kind and he interviewed for the Cubs' managerial job as well as the Padres opening.

Ross feels confident about how he will handle the communication aspect of the job, but admitted he will likely experience a learning curve with the in-game situations and decision-making. 

"It's going to be important that my bench coach is one step ahead of me until I get that feel back," Ross said. "I've sat in the dugout, I've managed from the seat as a player, but doing it and calling shots and being a step ahead, being aware of the bullpen, how guys are used — all those things are going to be a learned task. I've done it in my mind, now I've got to put it into practice."

Epstein confirmed the Cubs would ideally like a bench coach with a lot of experience — either as a manager or as the right-hand man. 

Beyond that, it's hard to see Ross or the team getting rid of Borzello given his invaluable contributions behind the scenes and Hottovy is a young pitching coach that showed a lot of promise and did a lot well in his first year on the job. Bullpen coach Lester Strode has been with the Cubs for three decades and has served in his current role since 2007. 

The Cubs have been changing out hitting coaches almost as often as leadoff hitters, so it would make sense to see them stick with Anthony Iapoce in that capacity for 2020, especially since he is well-liked by the position players. 

Brian Butterfield is affable and popular, but he dealt with health issues in 2019 and his two main areas of focus (baserunning and infield defense) were major issues for the Cubs last season. Like Loretta, first-base coach Will Venable also interviewed for the Cubs managerial opening before Ross got the job.

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