Chicago Cubs: David Ross continues to learn on the job as manager
David Ross has a lot to learn about managing at the big league level – and he’s doing so on the fly as the Chicago Cubs ramp up for the regular season.
There’s a lot riding on David Ross finding success this year. Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein limped through the offseason with his hands tied financially so his only hope is Ross breathing new life into largely the same group that’s taken the field the last few years – to mixed results.
With Joe Maddon now managing the Los Angeles Angels, we close the book on one of the most successful eras in Cubs history. A World Series title, three NLCS appearances and four postseason berths – not to mention the personal accolades players enjoyed under Maddon’s mentoring.
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Ross, of course, played under Maddon in 2015 and 2016, quickly becoming a fan favorite. Long known as a guy willing to lay down the law with teammates and hit them with some tough love, he’s transitioning to a new role – manager and boss to guys he once shared a clubhouse with.
"“I’m the manager now, so every detail matters,” Ross told MLB.com. “Every guy’s at-bat, whether how I’m looking at it and if they’ve got a chance to make this team, I’m watching it and how they act, how they run the bases, how they carry themselves when they come in the dugout.”"
He’ll have his work cut out for him in many ways this year, especially with the pitching staff. Chicago is hoping to piece together a passable bullpen after collecting a bunch of high-upside arms this winter. They’ll also need Craig Kimbrel to anchor that group, something he was unable to do in any way last year – his first summer with the Cubs.
Ross will also need more out of his former battery mate Jon Lester, who looked his age for much of the 2019 campaign. Heading into the final guaranteed year of his initial six-year, $155 million deal, there’s a lot riding on this season for not only the team, but Lester, as well.
Time will tell what Ross will have to work with this season. Cubs fans relentlessly questioned Maddon in the final years of his tenure on the North Side. Will they be the same way with Ross or will his first-year status and the long-standing love of the fanbase buy him a little more slack?
Either way, he’s approaching his first season at the helm in exactly the way you’d expect: holding players accountable and soaking up advice and knowledge in every way possible.
"“Skill set’s one thing on the field, but there’s also a component of, does he get along with his teammates? Is he in the training room every day? Is he in the weight room? Is he a hard worker? Does he keep his head down and is he a rookie that comes to work and does his work? Is he too loud in the clubhouse? Is he annoying? Is he not? All that stuff matters.”"
With less than one month until Opening Day, David Ross has plenty of work to do. He’ll continue to learn on the job, adjusting course as needed as he works to guide Chicago back to the postseason in 2020.