In their search for a new manager, the Cubs interviewed Joe Girardi for eight hours.
They twice met with Joe Espada.
Mark Loretta, Will Venable and Gabe Kapler also were candidates, but David Ross is going to be named the Cubs’ manager. ESPN.com first reported the Ross hire Wednesday morning.
From the minute the Cubs and Joe Maddon parted ways at the end of the regular season, Ross was viewed as a likely replacement.
Affable but tough when he needed to be during a 15-year playing career with the Dodgers, Pirates, Padres, Reds, Red Sox, Braves and Cubs, the former catcher retired after the 2016 season.
Ross walked away from the game with a World Series ring as the Cubs ended a 108-year title drought. He hit a home run in the deciding Game 7 Series win over the Indians.
Ross also was a World Series champion with Boston in 2013.
Since his retirement, the 42-year-old Ross was special assistant to baseball operations for the Cubs from 2017 to ‘19 and also worked as a baseball analyst on ESPN TV broadcasts.
There was a swell of support from the Cubs’ fan base for Girardi to replace Maddon, who is now the Angels’ manager. Like Ross, Girardi was a catcher for the Cubs during his playing days.
Unlike Ross, Girardi has major league managing experience. After one season (2006) in the Marlins’ dugout, the Peoria native joined the Yankees in 2008 and was 910-710 in 10 seasons with New York.
Girardi won the World Series as Yankees manager in 2009. He is the leading candidate to replace Kapler as the Phillies’ manager.
Ross never has managed or coached at any level, and Cubs president Theo Epstein addressed that gap while meeting with the media at the end of the season.
“I always have a greater comfort level hiring for roles in which the person has done the role before, especially with manager,” Epstein said. “I think there are ways for that to be overcome. There are a lot of different ways to get experience in this game. Beliefs, skills, personal attributes, those can outweigh a lack of experience, but experience certainly helps. David Ross has a lot of great things going for him, I would say.
“His connection to the players on this team, and especially his connection to the 2016 team, are not necessarily things that are going be important to us. I think Rossy is a really attractive candidate, and he’s going to be evaluated on the merits, what he can bring to the table as a major league manager given his skills, given his experiences, given his worldview, given what he knows about winning, all of those things.”