Chicago Cubs News: David Ross not believed to be on the hot seat
Faced with real expectations for the first time since becoming the Chicago Cubs manager in 2020, David Ross has faced heavy scrutiny this season regarding his in-game managing decisions.
While the blame for the Cubs' free-fall since April is not all on Ross, there is no question that a Major League Baseball team's manager often is the frontman for any shortcomings.
The Cubs are coming off a 2-7 road trip and over the course of the past 30 days, only the Oakland Athletics have won fewer games. The struggles of the Cubs have led to renewed questions over how secure Ross' job is. The answer appears to be pretty safe as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletics runs through all the Major League Baseball managers and reviews their status.
"David Ross, Cubs: This is Ross’ fourth season, and the Cubs expected improvement, if not quite contention, as they climbed out of their rebuild. Their 11-6 start built optimism, but they since have gone 9-20, playing a number of close games that have magnified Ross’ in-game decision-making.- Ken Rosenthal via The Athletic
Which isn’t to say that Ross, 46, is in trouble, not when he is signed through 2024 with an option for 2025 and continues to receive public support from president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer. As The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma wrote in a recent mailbag, “I don’t think Hoyer views Ross as a placeholder and I don’t think he’s anywhere near being on the hot seat.”"
There is reason to believe that Ross deserves the benefit of the doubt. Entering the season, the Cubs could not have predicted that veteran relief pitchers Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger would struggle to the extent that Boxberger has landed on the IL with the real possibility that he does not make another appearance for the team and Fulmer is resigned to low-leverage situations. Nor could the Cubs have projected the regression of Keegan Thompson in the bullpen.
On the position player side, there are questions regarding how Ross handles players. Had Christopher Morel not embarked on a historic home-run tear since being promoted to the Major League level, chances are Ross would leave Morel on the bench in favor of Nick Madrigal. Ross' preference for Madrigal is also concerning considering the one value that Madrigal has in making contact and finding holes has not been present to any consistent extent with the Cubs.
2024 has always been believed to be the year in which the Cubs felt they would be true contenders at the Major League level and that is likely when the front office will truly evaluate Ross. The Cubs entered the 2023 season with a roster that was certainly better than the roster they fielded at the start of 2022 but one that was flawed on the back half. That likely will be Ross' saving grace and allow him another season as the team's manager.