The Chicago Cubs are entering the 2019 season with some serious turnover and drama on the coaching staff. In short, they’ll have a lame-duck manager, Joe Maddon, leading their third pitching coach, Tommy Hottovy, and third hitting coach, Anthony Iapoce, in as many years. Infomercial voice: AND THAT’S NOT ALL!
Earlier this month, Brandon Hyde accepted a job managing the Baltimore Orioles, leaving behind the same vacancy bench coach Dave Martinez created when he left to manage the Washington Nationals. It’s obviously an honor and a compliment to have your lieutenants hired away as full-time managers, but it also creates a lot of instability – especially when the pitching coaches and hitting coaches are departing rapidly, too.
So when David Ross’ name started popping up in connection to the void left behind by Hyde, I wasn’t particularly surprised to see it. Aside from the fact that Ross is a qualified, intriguing candidate with the pedigree, experience, and respect needed to hold down such a job – he’s also familiar, having finished his career with the Cubs and then stuck around in a limited front office role. I can understand how that seems like familiarity is exactly what the Cubs need right now.
Unfortunately, it does not appear to be likely:
ESPN announces that it has reached a multi-year extension with David Ross as an MLB analyst. He'll remain a special advisor to Cubs' baseball operations, but you can effectively cross him off the list of bench coach candidates.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 18, 2018
According to multiple reports, David Ross has agreed to an extension with ESPN, and (begrudgingly) we’re happy for him. Of course, this isn’t a full-time job – as you can see he’s still a special assistant/advisor for the Cubs – but it does rule out any near-term coaching staff opportunities. The Cubs will have to look elsewhere for a bench coach.
Although this likely rules Ross out as Joe Maddon’s first mate in 2018, I don’t think it necessarily rules out the opportunity to manage in the future (even in the near future). If, for some weird reason, the Cubs don’t win 162 games and the World Series next season and Joe Maddon doesn’t return as manager in 2020, David Ross’ name will probably be tossed around as a candidate and no ESPN extension will prohibit those conversations if Ross wants to have them (with the Cubs or other teams).
But for 2019, at least, David Ross won’t be wearing a Cubs uniform.