The Chicago Cubs officially announced former catcher David Ross as their new manager Thursday, replacing Joe Maddon.
News of the hire was first reported Wednesday. The Cubs tweeted Thursday morning that Ross agreed to a three-year contract through the 2022 season with a club option for 2023.
Ross, currently an analyst for ESPN and a special adviser with the Cubs, was the betting favorite for the position since Maddon was allowed to leave the club after the 2019 season. Ross retired in 2016 after spending two seasons with the Cubs, culminating with a Game 7 home run off of Andrew Miller in the 2016 World Series.
"A lot has been made, and rightfully so, of my connection to the 2016 World Series team, and the notion that I'll now be managing the players I once counted on as teammates," Ross said in a statement.
"Having those relationships going into this will be a bonus, no doubt about it," he continued. "But those guys know I'll be the first to hold them accountable, the first to demand their best daily effort and the first to let them know about it if they give anything but their best."
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said the team was "thrilled" to name Ross the 55th manager in franchise history, and that his connections to the organization and members of the team "could be assets initially" but were not factors in the hiring decision.
"David is as gifted a leader as I've ever come across, and I expect him to become a great manager," Epstein's statement reads. "He is a natural connector with a high baseball IQ and a passion for winning. David has always stood our for his ability to cultivate the ingredients of a winning culture - accountability, hard work, hustle, competitiveness, trust, togetherness, and team identity."
"My family and I congratulate David," Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "He's a proven winner and we look forward to him leading our team back to the postseason."
Ross was long considered to be the top choice for the Cubs’ managerial job, interviewing early in the process and meeting with the team a second time recently for “expanded” conversations.
Ross, along with Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta and first base coach Will Venable, is one of several candidates the Cubs interviewed during the managerial search. The Cubs also spoke to former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and former catcher Joe Girardi, who was tapped Thursday to replace Kapler in Philadelphia.