Nobody feels particularly warm and fuzzy about how things ended between the Chicago Cubs and David Ross. The 2016 Game 7 World Series hero and fan favorite who went on to become the front office's handpicked successor to Joe Maddon was abruptly and unceremoniously shown the door in early November when Jed Hoyer fired him in lieu of bringing in Craig Counsell on a record-breaking deal.
Counsell passed his first wave of public comments earlier this month at Cubs Convention, seeming to say all the right things whenever he was center stage on a panel. Now, the attention will shift to seeing how he assembles his roster in spring training next month. But for Ross, who will still be paid by the Cubs no matter what in 2024 given it's the final year of his contract, the question is: 'what's next?'
And, if one report is to be believed, Ross won't have to ask that question very long. Jim Bowden of The Athletic (subscription required), while labeling Ross' dismissal as the 'worst managerial firing' of the winter, says Ross is expected to be 'one of the first managers hired' when a vacancy opens up in 2024.
Former Cubs skipper David Ross will almost certainly manage again
In his four years managing the Cubs, Ross assembled a 262-284 (.480) record - that included a pair of sub-.500 seasons (2021, 2022) and a pair of above-.500 seasons (2020, 2023). Chicago put up a nine-win improvement last year, but a stunning September collapse prevented the team from making the postseason for the first time in a full-length regular season since 2018.
By the time the Cubs fired him in November, a good chunk of the league's managerial openings had been filled. The Yankees and former ESPN colleague Aaron Boone looked at Ross as a potential bench coach, but Ross declined, opting to sit out until another managerial opportunity came his way.
And, frankly, for all his shortcomings, he should get more chances. Players and coaches raved about him and, after all, he was the front office's pick to replace a legendary manager. His firing seemed to be more about the opportunity to hire Counsell than it was about any sort of dissatisfaction with his job performance.
So once seats start getting hot around the league this season or even this fall, be ready, because David Ross' name is going to get thrown around a lot as a potential replacement. The Cubs may have given him his start as a manager, but they probably won't be the last team he calls the shots for.