The Chicago Cubs have made a final decision with respect to their managerial opening, electing to hire former catcher and clubhouse stalwart David Ross.
David Ross, who helped bring a World Series title to the North Side in 2016, erasing a century-plus of championship drought, has long been considered as a favorite for the position since the team parted ways with Joe Maddon. Now, it’s (semi) official. He will succeed Maddon as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.
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Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada earned a second interview with Cubs brass, but in the end Theo Epstein selected Ross as the man for the job.
The two-time World Series champion takes over a Cubs team that missed the postseason for the first time since 2014, and a roster which is sure to undergo a number of changes in the offseason.
The trend continues
One of the questions surrounding Ross’ candidacy was whether or not his lack of managerial experience would hurt his chances of being hired.
Sure, Ross had been a special adviser to the team for the last few seasons, but that is hardly the same as writing the lineup cards and making crucial bullpen decisions.
Nevertheless, this is the current trend in the MLB: hiring former players with little to no experience.
Look no further than Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, a former outfielder who led the Twins to 101 wins (their highest total in 54 years) as a rookie manager. In his second season as a manager, Dave Martinez has led the Washington Nationals to a World Series.
Aaron Boone is likely to be named American League Manager of the Year this season despite being hired in 2018 with no managerial experience. That same season, Alex Cora won the World Series in his first season in charge of the Boston Red Sox.
Simply put, the writing is on the wall for much of the old guard. Bruce Bochy has, for now, retired, Clint Hurdle was fired after nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mike Scioscia stepped down after last season.
The Cubs have gone younger with respect to much of their coaching staff and development personnel. As a former player and clubhouse leader recently retired from baseball, Ross fits the mold for the latest trend in managers.
What should Cubs fans expect?
Some of the other concerns with respect to Ross being named as manager stem from fears that he will be overly “buddy buddy” with the players.
However, these worries do not seem to hold water. Ross was the guy that someone like Rizzo turned to for guidance during Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. He was vocal in telling Javier Baez to be himself and learn simply by playing the game.
The Chicago front office wanted Maddon to take a more proactive approach this year especially when it came to hitting. That does not seem like it will ever be a problem with Ross, who is always present.
Just as Epstein continues to set a high standard, so too will Ross demand excellence from the players. Make no mistake, “Grandpa Rossy” is in charge now.