In case you missed the weekend’s big Cubs news, bench coach Dave Martinez is headed to Washington to be the new manager of the Nationals. Good for him, as he’s long deserved this shot. But for the Cubs, it means finding a new bench coach. And for Joe Maddon, specifically, it means finding a new bench coach for the first time in a decade.
Might Maddon want to stick with a familiar face? Perhaps a face that has become virtually synonymous with the current run of success by the Cubs, even as he wasn’t a member of the team or coaching staff in 2017?
Yes, I’m talking about David Ross. As soon as the bench coach spot opened up, almost everybody wondered the same thing. I’ll admit, I at least wondered it, too, given Ross’s temperament, mind, and all that talk a few years ago that he was considered by many to be the best future managerial candidate in the game.
Sure enough, Patrick Mooney hears that Ross would be on the Cubs’ short list of bench coach candidates … if he were ready to come back.
But having only just retired at the end of 2016, in large part citing the desire for a little more family time, is it reasonable to think Ross would be willing to jump right back into the grind of coaching?
Welp, Mark Gonzales is presumably sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Ross texted the Tribune that it’s “Hard to see me jumping back in. Was a little busy this year and never got real time off.”
Mooney’s piece also suggests the fit would be very challenging, given Ross’s off-the-field interests and family needs.
That doesn’t mean it’s off the table for certain, but I don’t think that’s Ross leveraging for a better payday to lure him back. I tend to think he’s being genuine – consider how much he did last year, even after he “retired.” So, then, it’s still possible, but probably not likely right now.
A more likely Cubs-connected candidate, as we’ve discussed before, is first base coach Brandon Hyde, who was the team’s bench coach under Rick Renteria, and also served in that role for a couple years previously with the Marlins. Both Gonzales and Mooney mention the possibility of Hyde sliding into the role, and, as I’ve said, I like the idea of the institutional memory/build-in comfort. Just seems like the kind of thing that would be a big plus, especially for a coaching staff already facing so much turnover.
The initial rush of coaching maneuvering has now passed, but this could go on for a little while yet, both because the World Series is not yet over, and because several teams haven’t totally wrapped up their managerial searches (which leaves the entire coaching world a bit up in the air).