Chicago Cubs: Can Descalso be the team’s David Ross?

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Fans will be happy to know that David Ross is back, sort of. In what may be the last ingredient the Chicago Cubs were looking for, Daniel Descalso looks to take the veteran seat this season.

Remember last season when the Chicago Cubs got into a hitting slump and couldn’t produce any runs?  The obvious logic was to bring in someone who could get base hits or get on base. The other important quality management wanted in their slugger was seasoning. They wanted a veteran like David Ross that could pull it all together as the Cubs ran for the finish line.

Of course, Daniel Murphy got the call and immediately made an impact. Not only did he spark hitting until the Cubs no-hit plague dampened even his bat; but he became a mentor to a bunch of the young players on the team.  Epstein even remarked at the close of last season how much the players enjoyed talking about their hitting approach with the “philosophical Murphy.” The problem with Murphy was: everyone knew he wasn’t staying past the season and he came in too late.

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Veterans need to grow with the team and mentor the young bucks from beginning to end.  They set the “attitude,” and the rest of the team follows suit. For what Murphy was thrown into last season, he sure did a heck of a job. So it was no big surprise when the Cubs said, “Thanks for the hits and advice Murph! But we’re still searching for our Ross.”

And then the Cubs signed Daniel Descalso.

Now, this was a brilliant move. I’m glad the Cubs learned their lesson and found their Ross early this season. Descalso is 5’10 hailing from Redwood City, California but looks like he grew up on the streets of Chicago with that Rocky Marciano sort of look and that hundred-yard stare through those dark brown eyes.

Descalso looks like he could hold his own in some of the alleys in town and that may be a skill that’s necessary with Manny Machado possibly heading across town. Descalso is a veteran utility man who can do it all… including pitch? Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune recently reported,

"Descalso played in 268 games with the Diamondbacks over the last two seasons despite starting only 144 times. Last season he hit .263 (10-for-38) as a pinch hitter, played four positions and pitched twice."

A known silent leader, Descalso has spent his whole life around the game. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the third round in 2007, but Descalso made his debut for the Cards in 2010. Since that time, he has also played for the Colorado Rockies and most recently the Arizona Diamondbacks. Not only does the kid come with veteran hitting skills but a locker full of knowledge about some of our toughest opponents. That knowledge is what Descalso is going to bring to the Cubs as he takes the veteran role according to Gonzales:

"Descalso, 32, hit .278 as a pinch hitter over the last three seasons, which should help make up for the loss of Tommy La Stella, who was traded to the Angels in November. Descalso will also give the Cubs a veteran presence — in the mold of David Ross or Jon Jay, a close friend of Descalso’s — that was lacking last season.“This guy is one of those under-the-radar kind of guys who is going to make a big impact this year,” manager Joe Maddon said."

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Maddon is doing his typical over and underselling in one breath, but Cubs fans are excited about what Descalso will bring to the friendly confines. Descalso is projected to have 91 hits and bring in 54 runs this season for the Cubs. Maybe one of those runs will lead us to a Division win this year.

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