David Ross Becomes The New Chicago Cubs Manager

The last time David Ross was with the Cubs they won the World Series, who knows what the future holds…

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The Chicago Cubs are making headlines this week and it doesn’t have anything to do with the World Series. The Cubs announced on Thursday that they will be hiring former catcher David Ross, 42, as their new manager. The decision came after the Cubs now former manager, Joe Maddon announced his move to manage the Angels from this point forward. The Cubs had a lot of potential candidates to fill their manager spot. According to CBS Sports, Astros bench coach Joe Espadawho, former Yankees and Marlins manager Joe Girardi, bench coach Mark Loretta, and former infielder Mark DeRosa were all in the running to replace Maddon, but Ross was always rumored to be the top choice. 

The Cubs are the last team that Ross played with in his Major League baseball career, and he ended with a bang, when the team won the world series back in 2016. Since then Ross had already been working for the Cubs in their front offices. He has no real managerial experience, however, according to CBS, the Cubs are no stranger to having inexperienced managers stepping in to help lead the team to some sort of victory.

“David’s connection to the organization and his relationships with his former teammates could be assets initially, but they were not factors in our decision nor will they be critical to his long-term success in the role. He earned the job on the merits,” says Cubs President of baseball operations Theo Epstein to CBS Sports

David Ross first began his MLB career in 2002 when he was drafted to play on the LA Dodgers after participating in two College World Series for the University of Florida. Ross started off as a pinch hitter and hit his first major league home run with the Dodgers two months into the start of his career. He continued to play for the Dodgers until 2005, when his contract was then sold to the Pittsburg Pirates. He played 40 games with the Pirates and later in the year was traded to the San Diego Padres. His time with the Padres was short lived, as he only played with them for 11 games, and then was traded during spring training of 2005.

The Cinncinati Reds was the next stop for Ross, and this time he was guaranteed a little more of a commitment from the Reds, who gave him a two-year, $4.5 million contract. With the Reds Ross had a huge increase in his offensive stats, so the Reds ended up making him their number-one catcher, which really kick started his legacy as the go to catcher.

In April of 2007, Ross hit a major slump, finishing the season with no home runs, 4 hits, and 17 strikeouts, his future in MLB felt bleak, and at the end of his contract with the Reds when he was preparing for reassignment, he was released from the team. Later that month, however, he signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox who he played with for a few months before getting signed again by the Atlanta Braves. The Braves gave Ross a two year $3 million contract that got extended into 2012, where Ross crawled out of his slump and back into the limelight. He briefely played with the Red Sox again after that, but eventually signed with the Cubs in 2014, with a two year, $5 million contract, the best he’s ever recieved.

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“We Know he will move the team forward in a new and different direction. We are excited to have David as our manager and look forward to working together to foster a winning culture and build the next Cubs championship team,” continued Epstein.

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In 2015 Ross made his first ever appearance  as a pitcher in his MLB career for the Cubs. In his first two games as a pitcher he recorded a perfect inning both times, and hit consecutive home runs. During his time with the Cubs he also caught his first no hitter and hit his 100th home run. In 2016 he announced his plans to retire at the end of the season, and little did he know it would be one of his best yet. Not only did Ross hit a home run in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, earning him the title of oldest player to do so in World Series History, but he helped lead his team to an iconic series victory to close off his career.

His time with the Cubs, however, was obviously not over. In fact, even in 2017 the Cubs announced that Ross was a “special assistant to baseball operations” for the 2017 season, which is what lead to him being the top contender for new manager this year. The Cubs are looking to respark some of that 2016 magic that lead them to such an epic victory.

Fans are skeptical about the decision, but also believe that with Ross behind them the Cubs have a good shot at reworking the way they evaluate and develop their players. Fans have been quite vocal about how much they dissaprove of the decisions the Cubs have made since their 2016 victory. Specifically, when they brought in Jose Quintana and rejected Justin Verlander, an MLB player who’s life long dream was to pitch for the Cubs, according to NBC. These series of errors in manager judgement made many onlookers believe the Cubs were potentially riding a “one hit wonder” wave. The Cubs are looking to Ross to view them as a full team, and point out the big picture issues that they need to work on. Epstein and Hoyer were formally criticized for having a “bandaid” type approach to fixing the team. The pressure is on for Ross to switch up how the team he formally helped bring to victory runs things. With a pretty remarkable player line up for 2020, however, and with Ross behind them, there’s hope for this team and their former victor now coaching them.