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Report: Astros’ Joe Espada has ‘sensational’ interview for Cubs’ managerial opening

Theo Epstein, Joe Espada, Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are ramping up their managerial search for the best candidate to replace Joe Maddon, and a source with the Houston Astros tells David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago that Astros bench coach Joe Espada had a “sensational” interview with the Cubs:

The Cubs made it known that they would interview Espada almost as soon as they parted ways with Maddon, and Espada — a former minor leaguer who has also been a third base coach — seems to have made an impression on Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

Espada has drawn rave reviews for his work with the Astros, a team praised for their analytical perspective and success in resurrecting the careers of pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander.

Meanwhile, Epstein is enamored with the analytical side of the game. He promoted former run prevention specialist Tommy Hottovy to the pitching coach position prior to the 2019 season, and hired Anthony Iapoce — a disciple of launch angle — to replace Chili Davis as the team’s hitting coach.

Chicago missed the postseason for the first time since 2014 after another September where it collapsed down the stretch. The Cubs lost six straight games between Sept. 17 and Sept. 22 to effectively eliminate themselves from contention, with five of those losses coming by one run. Maddon had been in the crosshairs given he was managing on an expiring contract, but a second straight subpar September sealed his fate.

Espada still has some work left to do with his current club. The Astros hold a 2-1 series lead over the New York Yankees in the ALCS prior to Game 4 on Thursday night.