Cubs: David Ross’ ‘loyalty’ comment about Jason Heyward doesn’t sit well
When you win a World Series, the 25 (or in today’s game, 26) guys on that roster share an unbreakable bond. Bringing a World Series championship to generations of Cubs fans who waited their whole lives for that moment? Well, that’s something altogether different – and something David Ross and Jason Heyward share to this day, although their dynamic has changed a bit over the years.
Ross, of course, is in his third year as manager and Heyward is in the second-to-last year of his team-record eight-year, $184 million contract. Mired in yet another year of major offensive struggles, calls to cut ties with the veteran outfielder have come from all angles this year. To this point, though, there’s been no action from the front office.
More than a few times, people openly questioned whether or not the relationship and history between Ross and Heyward has contributed to him getting regular reps this season, even when matchups didn’t seem to make sense. After all, that was the big concern when Ross was hired as skipper – that he might struggle getting tough with former teammates, particularly Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.
That never seemed to be an issue – but Ross’ recent comments when asked about Heyward specifically have reignited those flames of concern once more.
"“There’s a loyalty factor from my standpoint. I love that guy. I know it’s all about production at the end of the day and that’s what fans see but there’s so much more that he brings to the table.”"
I’m not questioning that Heyward brings more than his paltry .278 on-base percentage to the table. If that’s all he had to offer, he’d have been cut from this roster months ago. His leadership qualities and clubhouse standing are absolutely factors in the team holding onto him as long as they have. I get that and have no issue with it. After all, it’s not like Heyward’s contract is hindering Chicago spending right now – my bigger issue is the playing time he’s taking away from younger players who the organization should be evaluating this summer as they plot a course forward.
Cubs: History between David Ross, Jason Heyward seems to be at play
For Ross to come out and mention a ‘loyalty factor’ is just bad for everyone involved. He goes on to point out that Heyward continues to grind and put in the work and with a team as raw as this one, that carries some weight – no doubt. You can bet, though, that every time Heyward is out there over someone like Clint Frazier or Nelson Velazquez, people are going to circle back to this comment and wonder how much of a factor Ross’ relationship with him plays into the equation.
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It’s hard to not have loyalty to the guy who hoisted you onto his shoulder and carried you off the field after winning a World Series. But to lay it out there in an interview is an unwelcome distraction for a team that’s already circling the drain here in June.