Part of the success for the Chicago Cubs has come from the coaching staff. During October, no one highlights the great work turned in by the bench coach. Despite being cast in the managerial shadow, the bench coach provides the type of leadership that the Cubs will so desperately need moving forward.
Early reports indicate that Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez could be on the radar for the Rockies job next season.
Martinez, who was drafted by the Cubs in 1983, has been considered before. Just last season, Martinez interviewed with the Dodgers before they settled on Dave Roberts.
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In two short seasons in Chicago, Martinez has established himself as a great influence behind manager Joe Maddon. The bench coach is often considered the “great communicator” between players and the manager.
Assuming that Martinez lands the gig, the Chicago Cubs need to consider carefully who they fill the role with.
You can retire when you’re dead
When the report came across this morning, the first person I thought of was David Ross. Experts, fans, and even his teammates have complimented the veteran pitch-caller on his natural leadership and presence in the locker room.
Grandpa Rossy decided prior to the season that it would be his last; citing concussions as a major factor. Cub fans have observed Ross for the past two years as an extension of Joe Maddon. Suppose a player steps out of line or does something to negatively affect the team, Ross is the first to call him out.
Fans, myself included, admire his approach during interviews. He will always be the first to prop up his teammates and is always willing to fall on the sword for mistakes.
It makes all the sense in the world that Ross fill the role if it becomes available. As a former teammate turned mentor, Ross could continue to provide the guidance and leadership he has shown. However, the Cubs would have a steep hill to climb in convincing Rossy to come back.
Just Manny being Manny
Now, before anyone starts laughing or getting upset, think about this for a moment. Manny Ramirez already possesses the skills needed for the job. Having already completed what many would consider a great career, Ramirez has shared that with the young Cubs beaming with talent.
Despite a rough ending to his playing career, Manny Ramirez came to the Cubs as an advisor. Theo Epstein, who had recently compiled one of the best systems in baseball, needed someone to help pull it together.
Hitting Major League pitching is a difficult adjustment for some. Ramirez was brought in to help focus their approach.
Not convinced that he has the chops to do it? Ramirez is largely credited for the huge turn around that Javier Baez experienced between 2014 and 2016.
Prior to the teachings from Manny, Baez was striking out at an almost 40% rate. During 2016, Baez began to show more discipline and reduced that number to about 24%. Some of that was due to the natural development of Baez, but don’t downplay the influence Ramirez had on finding his swing.
If Martinez does move on, the Cubs will have several options that can help this ball club. You can’t discount the value of having someone that commands the respect of the young players like Manny. On the same front, a gamer like Jon Lester would feel much better knowing his best friend still shares a dugout with him. In any regard, the Cubs need to hit a home run with the hiring of the next bench coach.