2022 is in its infancy, but the ongoing MLB lockout remains firmly in place, meaning nobody – including the Chicago Cubs – can assemble a major league roster. That being said, there’s one thing outside of minor league pacts Jed Hoyer can still do and that’s work out an extension with manager David Ross.
Heading into this new year, MLB Trade Rumors put together a comprehensive list of front office executives and managers on expiring contracts. Of course, Ross’ name appeared on said list given he’s heading into the final year of his initial three-year pact (it’s important to note there’s a team option for the 2023 season, as well).
Which means, barring action from the front office, Ross is a lame duck manager in 2022. It’s too soon to tell what his roster will look like, but regardless, he’ll need to seamlessly balance competing at the big league level and focusing on developing the young players who will play a role for the club.
That’s a less than ideal scenario if you’re Ross, of course, but there’s little reason to believe he’ll stand on the top step at Wrigley for the home opener without some sort of security. There are two paths forward Hoyer can take here: 1) before the season starts, announce you’re picking up his 2023 option. 2) hammer out a new deal with Ross, meaning you won’t have to deal with any uncertainty in the manager’s role for years to come.
We don’t yet know which of these two options the Cubs will pursue, but the long and short of it is this: David Ross isn’t going anywhere as the team’s skipper anytime soon.
Chicago Cubs: David Ross has been dealt two less than ideal seasons to start
Trying to subjectively evaluate his first two seasons at the helm is near-impossible. 2020 was unprecedented in every way imaginable: the season was shortened after being delayed for months, and then the team played its 60 games (and two postseason games) in empty stadiums.
Still, Chicago won the National League Central for the first time since 2017, due largely to a scorching hot start to the season that gave them enough breathing room to just tread water down the stretch.
Looking back at 2021, the specter that came with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez heading into their final years of team control loomed over everything. Even when the team was playing well early on, that was always in everyone’s mind. Once the wheels came off and the sell-off took place, it was clear that Ross was doing his best with a severely crippled roster.
Like I said, this upcoming season will be about toeing the line: staying competitive and making sure guys like Brennen Davis are put in positions to succeed. Luckily, Ross seems likely to have the job security that will allow him to go about his work with no thoughts about the future.