I’m not exactly going to shock you by revealing that managers want as many talented players on their team as possible. GASP!
To be sure, the managers where there is a long-term foundation and relationship with the front office, they understand the ebbs and flows of organization building over a multi-year span, and know that not every moment or resource will be dedicated to balls’ing out the depth chart at their disposal. But, all else equal, managers know how brief their shot can be to prove they belong (or deserve to stay (or deserve another chance)), and they know having more talent available makes their proof a little bit easier to come by.
So of course David Ross wants the Cubs to be on the buy side this summer! That would be the case in any competitive year, but especially in his first full season as a manager. And, even more than that, he really wants the Cubs to buy because he wants this particular group of players to feel supported and get a real shot to go for it. To that end, it sounds like he’s hoping President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer takes (or gets) a chance to see what can happen.
“Why won’t you give the front office a new chance with a new president, right? Give everybody a new shot,” Ross told The Athletic. “I’m new, give me a new shot. Let’s give these guys a new shot under me for 162 (games) and under Jed. I’d like to think that maybe we can impact things a different way. I don’t know whether that can be true or not, but (with) everybody that’s new and in their role, just give them a clean slate and see what happens.”
Not only are the Cubs in first place in the NL Central, coming off a blistering hot month and a half after a slow start, but Ross sees even more improvement on the horizon.
“You try to make it as hard as possible on the decisions they have to make (upstairs),” Ross said. “If you’re going to judge this team right now, what would you say we’re at? Seventy percent of our everyday players? Is this the best version of us right now? I would argue no. Nico Hoerner’s a really good everyday player. Matt Duffy’s played a really big part to this group. I think Jason Heyward’s best days are ahead of him. I think Ian Happ hasn’t gotten going yet. I think there’s a better version of Anthony Rizzo there. There’s a lot of optimism from my seat.”
It might not feel this way because the Cubs have been right there just about every year since 2015, but truly competitive seasons – seasons with a good chance to win the division – are hard to come by, and hard fought when they do come. Yes, I’m sure this front office – and the one that preceded it – wouldn’t have minded a clear down year to move some pieces and try to pull off a very short-term reset. It’s possible that would’ve been 2020, but for the pandemic (it always felt like they were setting themselves up for that possibility). And then it’s possible this would’ve been the year – offseason SURE felt set up for it – but the team is just playing too dang well.
And if it continues for a few more weeks, then it’s just a clear and obvious situation: the front office will have to do exactly what David Ross is hoping they will, and supplement the roster to make a real second half run with this group. A group that might not be together after this year anyway.
A lot more here from Ross at The Athletic on how positive the team is right now, and how there isn’t much worry about a sell-off at the moment.