Adding Veteran Coaches A Priority For Cubs

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(670 The Score) With new manager David Ross in place, the Cubs are working diligently on assembling the best coaching staff that they can around him.

The most pressing issue may be finding a new bench coach to be Ross' right-hand man. At this point, it doesn't appear that Mark Loretta will return as the club's bench coach.

By all accounts, Loretta did a fine job helping manager Joe Maddon in 2019. The reason he may not return is because the Cubs need more experience in the bench coach role due to Ross never having previously managed. Loretta, 48, doesn't have much coaching experience either, as 2019 was his first season in the dugout after spending the previous nine years working in the Padres' front office.

"It's important given David's lack of experience managing to have someone who has either managed or been a bench coach," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Monday. "That person can stay one step ahead of him early on over the course of the game as he grows into the job."

Former Red Sox manager John Farrell is expected to be a candidate to be the Cubs' next bench coach. He has worked with Ross and Epstein previously.

Farrell managed Boston from 2013-'17, leading the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2013, when Ross was a one of the team's catchers. Before that, Farrell was the Red Sox's pitching coach from 2007-'10, a time in which Epstein led Boston's front office.

Farrell worked in the Reds' scouting department for the past two seasons, and he has two sons who have worked for the Cubs.

It remains unclear whether Cubs third-base coach Brian Butterfield and first-base coach Will Venable will return. If one of those jobs opens, it could be another spot in which the Cubs seek to add an experienced coach. 

Butterfield has been a top-flight coach at both third base and on the bench. He had some health issues with a case of vertigo in the early part of the 2019 season, but he overcame that and felt good in the second half. If the Cubs don't retain him, he could join Maddon with the Los Angeles Angels.

Two other experienced coaches to keep an eye as the organization continues searching are former Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and longtime manager Jim Riggleman.

Gonzalez, 55, spent the past three seasons as the Marlins' third-base coach but won't return to Miami for 2020. He managed the Braves from 2011-'16 and the Marlins from 2007-'10. Ross played for Gonzalez in 2011 and 2012 in Atlanta. Gonzalez has extensive coaching experience in the National League, which is beneficial because a manager will encounter tough strategical decisions regarding the pitcher's spot.

Riggleman, 66, has managed the Padres, Cubs, Mariners, Nationals and most recently the Reds in 2018, when he served in an interim role. He served as the Mets' bench coach in 2019 but wasn't retained. Riggleman managed the Cubs to a wild-card berth in 1998. He has a wealth of experience, including in player development from his younger days working in the minor leagues.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.