Rogers added that Kapler and Espada should round out the candidates under consideration. The team has already met with first-base coach Will Venable, bench coach Mark Loretta, front office assistant David Ross and former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
The Cubs fired Joe Maddon after going 84-78 and missing the postseason. Since winning the World Series in 2016, the Cubs have taken a step backward in each of the last three campaigns:
- 2017: Lost in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2018: Lost in the National League Wild Card game to the Colorado Rockies
- 2019: Missed the postseason altogether and finished third in the NL Central
Given the talent the Cubs still boast, missing the postseason was dubbed unacceptable, even for the man who ended the organization's infamous title drought.
Neither Kapler nor Espada would offer the pedigree of Maddon, but both would represent a new direction for the franchise. Kapler, 44, went 161-163 in two seasons as Philadelphia's manager, including the team's wildly disappointing 2019 campaign after landing players like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen in the offseason.
Although the team fell short of expectation, the argument could be made that the Phillies underachieved more because of a subpar pitching staff than due to Kapler's management. Regardless of where the proper blame falls, it was a disappointing year in Philly.
Espada, on the other hand, has never been an MLB manager, though he has managed the Puerto Rican League's Gigantes de Carolina and Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic team in both 2013 and 2017.
He also worked for the Miami Marlins (2006-13) and New York Yankees (2015-16) in a number of roles, from coaching to front-office duties, before joining the Astros.