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Theo Epstein: David Ross ‘a very attractive candidate’ for Cubs job

With Joe Maddon’s reign in Wrigleyville over after his dismissal Sunday, Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein indicated this week it’s “full speed ahead” to find his replacement.

While the Cubs will conduct a thorough managerial search that will involve “looking forward” and “not looking backwards,” according to Epstein, an integral figure from the team’s recent glory years is among the potential candidates.

During Epstein’s postmortem press conference Monday amid the conclusion of a disappointing 2019 campaign, the Cubs boss acknowledged that David Ross, an integral cog in the team’s World Series title in 2016, is in the mix.

“Rossy is a very attractive candidate, and he’s going to be evaluated on the merits,” Epstein said, per the Chicago Sun-Times, “for 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, just like every other managerial candidate.”

Ross’ name was almost immediately floated as a potential front-runner to replace Maddon, and the former Cubs catcher — who serves as a special assistant in the Cubs front office as well as an analyst for ESPN — weighed in on the managerial opening during Sunday’s “Baseball Tonight” broadcast.

“I think it’s one of the best jobs in baseball,” Ross said. “I’ve got a lot of close ties with those guys. I think the interest would be there. I think my heart is drawn to that dugout a little bit.”

Another candidate believed to be in the hunt to replace Maddon is bench coach Mark Loretta, and Epstein indicated he and Ross are likely the only in-house candidates in what is developing into a “broad list.”

The Cubs have yet to reach out to other teams to seek permission for interviews. However, it is believed that Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux and Astros bench coach Joe Espad would fall into that category.

“We’re not going to drag this out any longer than it needs to be, but we also want to be thorough,” Epstein said of the Cubs’ managerial search.