Ex-Cubs in demand for MLB manager jobs

In this Oct. 14, 2016, file photo, Chicago Cubs' David Ross waits for his turn during batting practice before baseball's National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

CHICAGO (WTHR) - Baseball's newest likely manager replacements have something in common - they both played catcher for the Chicago Cubs.

One of them, David Ross, is coming back to Chicago to manage the team he played with when they won the 2016 World Series. Ross was give a three-year contract to replace Joe Maddon.

The Cubs are hoping the former catcher can help them get back to the playoffs after missing out for the first since 2014. The three-year deal includes a club option for the 2023 season. Ross, who's never managed or even coached before, becomes the 55th manager in club history.

The 42-year-old Ross played the final two of his 15 major league seasons with the Cubs and was a revered leader on the 2016 team that won the World Series, ending the infamous championship drought dating to 1908. He spent the past three years in Chicago's front office and was widely viewed as a potential replacement for Maddon, one of the most successful managers in franchise history with a 471-339-1 record in five seasons.

"I'm honored by this opportunity to be the next manager of the Chicago Cubs," Ross said in a statement. "My time with this organization has been special since the day I joined, so to continue with the club in this role is a blessing for which I'm so very thankful."

Another former Cub backstop has agreed to take over as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies to replace Gabe Kapler.

Philadelphia hired former Yankees manager Joe Girardi to replace Kapler on Thursday. Girardi will be introduced at a news conference Monday.

"I'm excited for this next chapter of my career," Girardi said in a statement. "The Phillies have a strong commitment to winning from the owners to the front office to the players to the fans. It's something that I've seen up close for the last 30 years of my baseball career. I played against the great Phillies players of the early '90s from Dutch Daulton to John Kruk to Dave Hollins, and I managed against their teams during the incredible run they had from 2008 to 2011. To have my name now associated with this great franchise is something that I couldn't be happier about."

It was a busy day around the league for managerial hirings. The Cubs tabbed Ross to replace Maddon, and the San Diego Padres turned to rookie manager Jayce Tingler. The Los Angeles Angels introduced Maddon at a news conference.

Kapler was fired after an injury-depleted team went 81-81 despite significant offseason additions highlighted by Bryce Harper's arrival. He was 161-163 in his two seasons. The Phillies also interviewed Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter. Girardi was the favorite among vocal fans, who didn't accept Kapler mainly because of his California-cool personality.

Girardi was one of the most prominent candidates to fill vacant managerial spots across baseball. He also interviewed with the Cubs and New York Mets.

In this Oct. 3, 2017 file photo, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi speaks during a news conference before an American League playoff game against the Minnesota Twins in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

"Joe brings high character and a tremendous work ethic to his position, and he is a proven winner," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "I look forward to working with him and I believe that he is the right manager to lead our team to the next level."

Girardi succeeded Joe Torre after the 2007 season and spent a decade in pinstripes. He led New York to its 27th World Series title, beating the Phillies in six games in 2009. He also managed the Marlins one season and was NL Manager of the Year after going 78-84 in 2006, the only manager in the history of the award to win it with a losing record.

Girardi's record with the Yankees was 910-710, the sixth most wins in team history. Girardi won at least 84 games each season in New York and had four years with 95 or more, including 103 in 2009. He led the Yankees to three AL East titles and six postseason appearances.

The 55-year-old Girardi hit .267 as a catcher for 15 seasons in the majors. He won three championships with the Yankees in the 1990s and was an All-Star for the Cubs in 2000.

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