David Ross, Will Venable, Mark Loretta set to interview for Cubs job

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein on Monday outlined the qualities he wants to see in his next manager, and confirmed that former catcher David Ross is among the team's "broad list" of candidates.

"We haven't called to ask for permission on anybody," Epstein said during an 80-minute news conference Monday, a day after the club announced it would not retain Joe Maddon. "We're full speed ahead. We're not going to drag this out any longer than it needs to be, but we're also going to be thorough."

Epstein stressed that the Cubs want to look forward and not backward, downplaying Ross' connection to the team's past.

"David Ross has a lot of great things going for him," Epstein said of the World Series-winning catcher. "His connection to the players on this team, and especially his connection to the 2016 team, are not necessarily assets that distinguish him or are important to us. ... Ross is an attractive candidate, and he's going to be evaluated on the merits."

Ross, currently an ESPN analyst, said Sunday that he is interested in the job.

Epstein on Monday said the Cubs are interested in at least one member of a playoff team's staff.Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada could be a candidate.

The team on Tuesday announced that Ross, first base coach Will Venable and bench coach Mark Loretta will interview for the position.

Epstein on Monday wouldn't comment on former Cubs catcher Joe Girardi's status as a candidate. He also was delicate while speaking in regard to Maddon's legacy with the Cubs.

"Please don't take anything I say as far as what we're looking for [in] a manager, at this moment in time, as any kind of critique at Joe [Maddon] because it's not," Epstein said. "He was the perfect guy for this team at the perfect time.

"It's going to be important for the next manager to find a way to foster a team identity. Our routines tended to be more individualized. There wasn't a lot of work as a team. I think it's going to be important for this group to work as a team.

"At this moment in time, with this group, I think accountability is important. We were pretty mistake-prone this year. The next manager should be part of this. Helping to create a culture of accountability."

The Cubs led the majors in outs made on the bases and in errors this season, leading some outside the organization to believe that a firmer hand might be needed from the manager.

"You want to make sure you don't end up with the candidate that interviews the best," Epstein said. "You want to end up with the candidate who is going to be the best manager.

"Picking priorities and values to emphasize work is going to be important. For this group, at this time, we need to find a way to create a culture that compels every player to push himself to be the absolute best version of himself."

Though he gave some details, Epstein backed off diving further into his ideal qualifications for the Cubs' next manager.

"I don't want to answer too specifically," he said. "If I get into a long list of specifics, then every managerial candidate that comes in will list every single specific that we say and think they aced the interview process."

The Cubs finished 84-78 this season and did not extend Maddon's contract after five years. Almost by default, the Cubs are likely to hire someone with less experience, which could affect the decision.

"It's something you have to consider," Epstein said. "Lack of experience is a factor. It's not the determining factor."

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