As we recently discussed, it seems very likely that the Cubs will go with a veteran former manager to be David Ross’s bench coach this year, given his inexperience in the role.
You don’t know what you don’t know, and the benefit of having an experienced former manager in that bench coach role is that he can be quite an in-game asset to Ross, without necessarily stepping on Ross’s leadership toes in the clubhouse. Nobody expects Ross to be a perfect in-game manager from the jump, so why not help set him up for success on that side of things? And obviously, having another experienced voice in the clubhouse could be a benefit, too.
To that end, we did some speculating about former Red Sox manager John Farrell, currently a special assignment scout with the Reds. Farrell, 57, was the pitching coach in Boston when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were there, and then was later the Red Sox manager when David Ross was a catcher there. He also has familial ties to the Cubs organization (his three sons have all been in the org in a variety of roles at one time or another), so it was about as easy as the speculating gets.
And, what do you know, he actually *is* expected to be a candidate for the job, per Bruce Levine. Others to keep an eye on, says Levine: former Braves and Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, and former everyone’s manager (including the Cubs) Jim Riggleman.
Gonzalez, 55, has been on the Marlins’ coaching staff after his stints as manager there and with the Braves, but is now a free agent. He managed the Braves back when Ross was on the roster, so I’m sure he’s got a good feel for how Gonzalez would help. The fact that Gonzalez is bilingual would probably be a nice thing to have on the staff, too.
Riggleman, 66, is about as experienced as they come, having managed the Cubs, Padres, Mariners, Nationals, and Reds at various times, and also having coached in the Majors and minors, managed in the minors, scouted, and played in the minors, too. It’s been a couple decades since he was with the Cubs, though, having managed them from 1995 to 1999.
I imagine there will be other candidates considered, and there could be interviews taking place that we won’t hear about. Nevertheless, the important thing is that you’re getting a sense of what the Cubs will be looking for in Ross’s new bench coach, on the presumption that Mark Loretta (only one year experience as the bench coach) will not return to that role next year.