Oct 24: The Cubs have officially announced Ross’ signing as the club’s new manager. The Chicago hero will receive a three-year contract through the 2022 season with a club option for 2023 (link).
Oct 23: Chicago settled on Ross yesterday afternoon, Kaplan adds (Twitter link). All other candidates have been informed of the decision, he adds, so it seems an announcement is just a formality at this point.
8:41 am: Ross is indeed likely to be hired as the Cubs’ manager this week, reports David Kaplan of NBC Sports (via Twitter). Kaplan adds that Ross’ agent has been negotiating a deal that is “almost done” with President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.
12:21 am: Joe Espada and David Ross are reportedly the favorites in the Cubs’ search for their next manager, though it appears the latter has pulled ahead in the race. Ross could be announced as the Cubs’ new skipper as early as Thursday, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com suggested to “Waddle and Silvy” (Twitter link via Adam Abdalla of ESPN Chicago).
Ross is a revered figure for the Cubs, with whom the former major league catcher played the final two seasons of his career from 2015-16. In the last of those years, Ross helped the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908 with a strong regular-season performance and a postseason effort highlighted by a home run against the Indians in Game 7 of the World Series.
Ross has served as a special assistant to baseball operations for the Cubs and an ESPN analyst since his playing days wrapped up, but he comes with no coaching experience. He’s something of a polar opposite in that regard to previous Cubs skipper Joe Maddon, a longtime coach whom the club hired after a long run as the Rays’ manager. Despite his lack of seasoning as a coach, though, Ross told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he believes he’s capable of melding the best qualities of the top managers he encountered during his career. Ross played under World Series-winning managers in Maddon, Terry Francona, John Farrell and Bobby Cox.
Maddon’s “old school to the core; he just uses the analytics in his favor for certain wacky situations where he may take the pitcher and put him in left field,” according to Ross. While Ross noted that Maddon’s methods with the Cubs came off as unconventional, “90 percent of the time, it worked out.”
Ross, if he becomes a manager, will attempt to mix the methods of Maddon and Cox – specifically the “freedom” they’ve given players – with Francona’s communication skills and Farrell’s ability to delegate. And as someone who played in the majors for a decade and a half, Ross thinks he learned what not to do from less successful managers. In his discussion with Bradford, Ross opined he’s well aware “what a bad manager looks like.”
Maddon was anything but “bad” during his time with the Cubs, of course, but the club nonetheless moved on after a disappointing 2019 season. It now appears they’ll hand the reins to the popular Ross in an effort to return to prominence next year.