When the Cubs didn’t announce their next manager on Monday, conventional logic held that they would have to wait until after the World Series to do so. That’s because MLB has traditionally placed a moratorium on all major news in order to keep the focus on the Fall Classic, which, okay. But as 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine reported, the league appears to have softened its stance a little bit and will allow announcements on travel/workout days.
Source confirms MLB will allow announcements like new manager hirings on off/ workout days during WS .Thursday or potentially next Monday are open dates.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) October 22, 2019
That changes the calculus just a bit on my initial prediction that no Monday news meant to lay the mortgage on Joe Espada to the Cubs. The Astros bench coach was brought back for a second interview this past weekend and is high the lists of other teams, but he is also occupied by the World Series. Alex Cora’s hiring by the Red Sox was announced after the ALCS, though, so there’s a precedent for such a move.
Still, it would seem that an earlier announcement would be for the safe bet or more known commodity in David Ross. After all, he’s been the presumptive favorite for quite some time now and it’s seemed as though the Cubs were leaning that direction up until Espada got that call for a second sit-down. So the longer the process drags out, the more it seems Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are going in a different direction.
But based on what Jesse Rogers said Tuesday afternoon on ESPN 1000, I could be wrong on both counts. Rogers, who has been saying Ross is the choice for a while now, prepared listeners to “not be surprised if David Ross is announced as early as Thursday.”
Jesse Rogers on the radio just now, “Do not be surprised if David Ross is announced as early as Thursday”
— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) October 22, 2019
Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all given that the dude’s been the leading candidate to replace Joe Maddon for the last year or more. It’s possible Rogers was referring to a Thursday announcement as surprising, which is fair in light of the presumed moratorium. Or it could even be that people believe as I did that it was Espada’s job once Monday came and went with no news.
But wait, there’s more. As NBC Sports Chicago’s Kelly Crull tweeted, Ross was also said to have been brought back for a second interview with the Cubs brass. Maybe this is like the old fashioned way of picking sides in a baseball game, with Ross getting his fingers on the knob of the bat.
Not as formally announced as Espada, but David Ross is said to have also had a second interview with the #Cubs. Given his position with the team, I'm told they expanded conversations earlier this week. #MLB
— Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) October 22, 2019
However it goes down, I’ll repeat what I’ve said before about this, which is that the Cubs can’t really make the wrong choice here. Both Ross and Espada possess admirable qualities when it comes to leadership and drawing the most out of those around them. It’s really just a matter of who the Cubs believe can best do that with this particular group of players in the quickest manner.
What a lot of people seem to be forgetting in this whole mess is that Epstein and Hoyer aren’t looking at this as a 10-year plan or even something of half that length. They’re only under contract for two more seasons, as are most of their core players. So while they’re not looking to leave the cupboard bare for their successors, they’ve got to make a meal for dinner right now.
That brings us to the final point here, which is that the Cubs aren’t exactly in the catbird seat here when it comes to the desirability of their job. Between potential budget constraints, the unknown future of the front office, and just the weight of following the man who brought a title to town, it could be a matter of which candidate really understands what to do with those ingredients.
So don’t be surprised if Ross is announced Thursday and don’t be surprised if Espada is announced at the conclusion of the World Series. Do be surprised if Joe Girardi is announced at any point, especially if Ross is hired as his bench coach.