How much would David Ross or Joe Girardi cost? Would an outsider be able to implement new ideas? Questions facing each Cubs managerial candidate.

Chicago Tribune Sports 1 month ago

The Cubs presumably have asked an array of questions to their managerial candidates, no matter how much experience they have. And those candidates might have a few questions of their own about what’s in store if they took the job.

Here’s a synopsis of where each candidate stands:

After a 14-year playing career ended with his second World Series title with the 2016 Cubs, Ross hasn’t slowed down. He has worked as an ESPN analyst, as a special assistant in the Cubs front office and even participated in “Dancing With the Stars” in the spring of 2017.

Ross hasn’t been required, however, to fill out a lineup or answer questions before and after games. His broadcasting days end as soon as the final out is made — not 90 minutes later, when a manager has fulfilled media obligations, answered strategy questions from his bosses and learned from his trainer who might not be available the next day.

None of the 29 other major-league managing jobs is better tailored for Ross, 42, because of his familiarity with the organization and the market.

But the Cubs might need to make it worthwhile for Ross to take the job if he’s their top candidate, despite his lack of experience. For comparison’s sake, Alex Cora earned $800,000 in 2018 — well below what the top managers make — in his first season managing the Red Sox, which ended with a World Series title.

No candidate has more managerial experience than Girardi, who spent 11 seasons managing the Marlins and Yankees and won a World Series title with the 2009 Yankees. Girardi spent seven of his 14 seasons as a major-league catcher with the Cubs.

But if Girardi, 54, emerges as a leading candidate for the Mets vacancy, which he also has been linked to, or another job, how far would the Cubs go to bring him back to Wrigley Field?

“We have no problem paying the right manager the appropriate level,” President Theo Epstein said. “And if it’s an experienced manager who has won and there’s a lot of competition for his services, we always pay accordingly.”

Venable, 36, interviewed for the job Monday after spending less than three seasons in the Cubs organization, the last two as first-base coach with outfield duties.

The Bay Area native confirmed Thursday he has been in contact with the Giants about their managerial opening.

Venable declined to elaborate on his interview or the Giants’ interest, preferring to keep a low profile. But he did say, “I feel I can impact a team.”

Assuming the Cubs and Giants hire someone else, Venable remains in play as a rising contributor to an organization. The Cubs are shaking up their amateur scouting and player development departments, but Venable’s keen ability to communicate and teach, according to a few Cubs players, make him more valuable on the field.

Since winning the World Series, the Cubs have gradually regressed with the same nucleus. An outsider, such as Astros bench coach Joe Espada or Yankees executive Carlos Beltran, might have new ideas on how they can improve.

The question is how much input would an external candidate be able to implement. The 2019 Cubs lacked accountability, but the core players wield a lot of power with the team’s executives.

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