Chicago Cubs: David Ross’ value to the organization
Seasoned catcher David Ross was signed by the Chicago Cubs to help Jon Lester with the transition to a new team and league during the off-season. Lester and Ross worked together in Boston and had a lot of success as a duo behind 29 regular season games and three postseason appearances.
The signing of Ross with the Cubs was mainly due to the relationship that he had with Lester, but he offers the Chicago Cubs more than just a personal catcher for their prized free agent signing.
What Ross adds to this team is a veteran voice and leadership that has been around. He’s had to deal with all the struggles a journeyman in baseball has had to endure. From relocating, not seeing enough playing time, and slumps – he is a wealth of knowledge that the young Cubs’ players can go to for encouragement and advice.
Some may say that is what managers and the rest of the coaching staff are for, but if you have that kind of luxury on your team, why not use it and let the manager and coaching staff worry about the other teams that they are playing? But he’ll also take notice when teammates aren’t playing the way they should or not giving it their all.
The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzalez wrote a piece about Ross and his approach to the game. In that piece, he noted about a routine drill that was being done wrong and he let the player know it – that player was All-Star Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo wasn’t running towards second during a rundown drill with Starlin Castro – Ross immediately yelled at Rizzo and stopped the play. How many players do you know of that will call-out the face of the franchise who is also coming off an all-star campaign before even playing in a spring training game?
"“It’s not hard to go 100 percent at those things for seven to 10 minutes. There’s no excuse ever to mess up a rundown, especially in practice. We practice at game speed, which sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. If you do it with the intensity (Ross) brings to the table and I start bringing it and the second baseman starts bringing it, then the shortstop, third baseman, everyone — then special things happen.” Anthony Rizzo on David Ross – via Mark Gonzalez chicagotribune.com"
It’s obvious he’s not the best offensive player, but he has come up with some nice hits for the Cubs. He’s a career .232 hitter with 95 home runs, and 276 runs batted in. This year he only has two hits in his 18 plate appearances – but both are doubles and one of the doubles brought in two key runs in a comeback win over the Reds.
What he doesn’t bring with his bat is overlooked by what he brings to the rest of the game and the team. Being an old the field manager when he plays is such a valuable asset to the Cubs.
A young team will make mistakes due to inexperience – having a vocal veteran who can pick up these mistakes makes life easier on everyone including the manager.