Chicago Cubs: Is it time for David Ross to call it a career?


Following a deep postseason run, is it time for the Chicago Cubs’ David Ross to think about his role with the team after his playing days are over?

I’m sure for the sentimental segment of Cubs Nation, even suggesting that the veteran backstop should retire is sheer and utter blasphemy – and that’s fine, because a little part of me feels the same way.

But the other part of me, a much larger piece, knows deep down that it’s not hard to make the case for Ross to step aside and hang up his spikes after a 14-year stint in the big leagues that has seen him suit up for seven different organizations.

The 38-year-old catcher appeared in 72 games this season for the Chicago Cubs, his most in a single season since back in 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds. He didn’t contribute much at the dish, hitting just .176 over the course of 182 plate appearances, but he brings a lot more to the table than most light-hitting backup catchers.

As Kyle Schwarber told the media during the NLCS (per the Boston Herald) – ole’ Graybeard is a clubhouse leader for the young Cubs.

"“He’s caught the last pitch of the World Series,” Schwarber said. “He’s won a ring. He’s someone this team needs.”"

Heading into 2016, multiple outfield blunders in-mind, fans will no-doubt want to see more of Schwarber behind the dish – something that is complicated by the fact Chicago already has starting backstop Miguel Montero and his backup, Ross, in-tow.

On Thursday, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Schwarber would continue to work both in left field and behind the plate this offseason, without giving much indication about where most of his 2016 reps would come at.

That being said, it’s hard to envision Schwarber getting too many chances behind the plate, barring an injury, due to the fact that Montero is a very solid defensive catcher with some ‘pop’ in the bat, evidenced by his 15 long-balls this year, his most since back in 2012.

You have to assume that Miggy gets most of the starts behind the dish heading into 2016, especially with how well the Cubs’ pitching staff (ranked third in terms of ERA) performed this year.

So where does that leave Ross?

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On most teams, it leaves him on the outside looking in. Schwarber showed his value in the postseason, posting a 1.308 OPS to go along with a team-leading five home runs. Montero, as noted above, helped the pitching staff perform well all year-long.

But this isn’t most teams.

Ross is invaluable to the Cubs. At least for one more season, Schwarber will get most of his playing time in left field, no-doubt working hard this winter to improve his at-times shaky defense, while Montero handles the bulk of the catching duties.

Why, you may ask? It’s simple. A team this young needs veteran leaders who understand how to win: David Ross knows how to win and, more importantly, he knows how to lead by example.

"“I think it’s just being the same person when I come in, or (Maddon) comes in, or Jon, or the veterans,” Ross said. “We don’t change day to day. There’s no panic. We don’t get down. What’s the point of getting down on yourselves? When you’ve won as much as we have in the last 3-4 weeks, there’s no reason to get down on yourselves.”"

Next: Takeaways from Theo Epstein's press conference