Chicago Cubs: It’s impossible to assess David Ross as manager right now

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Earlier this week, Patrick Mooney of The Athletic  (subscription required) penned a piece entitled: ‘Is David Ross still the right manager for whatever the Cubs are going to become next?’ It caught me a bit off guard because, at least to this point, no one had really posed that question when it came to the Chicago Cubs skipper.

And, to be fair, the headline is a bit misleading. No one seems to be questioning Ross’ role in the organization and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer unabashedly endorsed the job the former catcher has done as Cubs manager.

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Mooney points out that, for now, Ross won’t be judged on the team’s win-loss record. That’s good news for him given the impending sell-off we could bear witness to in the coming weeks. There’s a decent chance that, come Aug. 1, Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel, among others, are wearing different uniforms.

Last season, Ross guided the Cubs back to the postseason after the Joe Maddon-led squad missed out on October entirely the year prior. He was named an NL Manager of the Year finalist and set his sights on duplicating that success this season.

Those dreams went right out the window when Chicago dropped 11 consecutive contests and limped into the All-Star Break a full eight games out in the division. Now, it’s all about talent development and making sure that falling out of contention doesn’t equate to letting the little things slip through the cracks on a day-to-day basis.

Chicago Cubs: David Ross is a ‘grin and bear it’-type manager for this team

Ross knew full well what kind of year this could be last winter when Hoyer traded his ace to the Padres in exchange for a middle-of-the-road replacement heading into his final year of control and a group of prospects who might not reach the big leagues until 2025. After his team’s free fall in the standings, what he suspected last winter is likely to come to fruition sooner rather than later.

The front office insists it has no intentions of a lengthy top-to-bottom rebuild reminiscent of what we saw under Theo Epstein nearly a decade ago. And, in all actuality, it shouldn’t be too difficult for Hoyer to deliver on that promise given the minimal contracts that are on the books next year.

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So, right now, it’s a wait-and-see approach when it comes to David Ross. You can make the case he hasn’t gotten a fair shake in either of his first two seasons at the helm and, barring a rapid turnover and an influx of cash from Tom Ricketts, he might be dealt a less-than-perfect hand again in 2022.