Cubs: Jed Hoyer puts his faith in David Ross via multi-year extension

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms with manager David Ross on a widely anticipated multi-year contract extension. Ross, who took over the managerial duties for the club in 2020, will be under contract through 2024 with a club option for 2025. This will hopefully be the first of many moves to come for the North Siders over the next few days.

Ross is 105-117 as Cubs manager, and he has one postseason appearance in 2020 when they won the NL Central during the pandemic-shortened season. Last year he saw his team get dismantled at the trade deadline as the core was shipped away. Ownership and the front office clearly have faith in Ross as a manager going forward, and now is time for him to show what he can do in a new era of Cubs baseball.

Looking at what David Ross has done with the Cubs to this point

When Ross took over following Joe Maddon’s departure in 2019, he still had the position player core of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber in place. The 2019 club saw the core players themselves perform well, but the supporting cast did not and thus they went 84-78 and missed the postseason altogether for the first time since 2014.

The front office was not given much in terms of financial flexibility to bring in notable improvements. Ross managed the team in the weird 60-game COVID season to a division title, behind pitching and defense, but got swept in the first round as the bats continued to struggle. Similar deal offensively in 2021 but the pitching fell apart as well and they sold at the deadline.

The Cubs have seen both good and bad under Ross. As mentioned before, the offense has not been great. They finished top-five in strikeout rate in both 2020 and 2021 as well as bottom half in wRC+ both years. Pitching was very solid in 2020, sporting a team 3.99 ERA, 9.08 K/9 and 1.22 WHIP but it fell HARD in 2021 with a dreadful 4.88 ERA, 4.88 FIP and 1.4 WHIP. One thing that has been pretty consistent, though, has been their defense, as they won team Gold Glove in 2020 and have been well above positive in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) the last two years.

Ross can obviously only control so much, and a lot of this lies on his coaching staff and players themselves. He will work with some new coaches this season, including hitting coach Greg Brown, who can hopefully help make positive impacts on the team. In-game managing is what fans see on a daily basis. Bullpen managing by Ross has been kind of iffy and there will need to be improvements made in that department, but hopefully with potentially new and improved rosters coming in, the easier the job will be. Time will tell.

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Ross has been in a weird spot. He either is managing a team with a core but not much of a supporting cast due to “financial constraints” during a pandemic or a lame-duck team that turned into a rebuilding roster. He never had a true full season with the old core and now they are gone. This new era will be his opportunity to shine. It might seem bold to extend him now, but either he succeeds and stays or he doesn’t and the Cubs simply move on.