Chicago Cubs should hold off on extending David Ross

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

With the Chicago Cubs‘ season coming to a close on Sunday, the team heads into the offseason with more questions than answers. Aside from all the decisions to make on who will play for the team, there’s also the matter of manager David Ross, and it’s been reported that the two sides are in the early stages of talking about a contract extension.

It’s hard to believe, but Ross will be entering the final year of his three-year contract in 2022. It sounds like the two sides want to get a deal done; in fact, we reported earlier that it sounded like it was going to happen. Heading into 2022 with questions surrounding the future of the manager isn’t ideal, so it’s understandable that the two sides would have some urgency to get a deal done.

The Cubs believed two years ago that Ross was the right man for the job, and it sounds like the organization still thinks highly of him. One could argue that Ross hasn’t had a “real” chance to manage this team yet, due to the strange circumstances of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and the huge selloff that took place in the middle of 2021.

Chicago Cubs: David Ross still needs to earn his extension

However, the case could be made that it is for this reason that Ross hasn’t earned his extension yet. The team may want to give him another chance, but they really don’t have much to go on to determine whether he’s the right man moving forward.

In fact, one could argue that the results to this point have been disappointing. The Cubs won a terrible division almost by default in 2020; after going 13-3 to start, they then went 21-23 the rest of the way and looked terrible in their first-round playoff series against the Miami Marlins. Several key players from the Joe Maddon era regressed under Ross’ watch when they were supposed to be entering their “prime” years.

Ross had them playing well as a team for a while in 2021 before the wheels came off in June, as many of the key guys again underachieved. True, the front office hasn’t helped him out much the past two years, subtracting far more from the roster than adding, but the rate at which this season spiraled out of control was staggering.

Ross had this shell of a team playing hard toward the end of this season, when they were overmatched by many opponents. But how would he do with a better roster? We just don’t know yet. In fact, we have no idea what the 2022 Cubs will look like. If (and it’s a big if) the front office significantly upgrades the roster this winter, will we get the same results we did in late 2020 and the middle of the 2021 season? Again, it’s hard to say.

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Look, I like David Ross, and I still think he could be a great big league manager. I just don’t think we’ve seen enough of him yet to know whether he really is the right guy to lead the team back into contention. It may be wise to see how he does in 2022 before making any more of a commitment.