I guess it’s a topic that has to come up any time a team has a very disappointing season, but given the bigger picture, I don’t think anyone is seriously wondering whether David Ross is going to lose his job as manager of the Cubs.
Sure, the Cubs are in a more pitched battle for a top-6 draft pick than a playoff spot, but when you factor in (1) Ross was groomed and hand-picked by the Epstein-Hoyer front office for this job for years, (2) Ross’s rookie season featured a pandemic, and (3) the roster implosion started before the 2021 season even began, I don’t think Ross is being evaluated on the basis of wins and losses in 2021. That is not to say he couldn’t be failing in other ways to which we don’t have visibility, but we aren’t hearing any chatter like that. It’s a very reasonable assumption that Ross’s seat is not warm, and he’ll be the manager for the Cubs – with relative comfort – heading into 2022.
To that end, Ross spoke with NBC about the job, his security in it, and what to make of the last couple years. If he’s worried, he certainly doesn’t sound like it.
And, again, why would he be? Ross’s near-term focus is on the organization as a whole, and looking ahead to competing in 2022 (which is exactly where you want his focus). From Cubs.com:
The front office will spend this coming offseason and the next few years building on this offense. Ross views his role as continuing to build the environment and a brand of play that can be established from the ground up.
After this season ends, Ross plans on heading to Arizona for instructional league. The manager wants to get his eyes on some of the team’s prospects, but he also wants to meet with the player development staff to discuss the long-term vision for the organization.
“I just want to make sure, from a coaching standpoint,” Ross said, “we’re trying to implement or coach or reminding the players about little advantages that we’re going to try to take advantage of here at the big league level. And start seeing if guys can start processing that in-game.”
You would love for the manager to be deeply integrated in the development process, especially given what is coming next for the Cubs. Even as it should not be a multi-year rebuild, competitiveness in 2022 is going to require a combination of huge development steps forward all over the organization *AND* a savvy offseason of coordinating internal and external pieces that can surprisingly coalesce. Having Ross secure and in place to be part of that process is pretty important, though the whole thing will also be a test of his ability to wear both of those hats.
In the meantime, Jed Hoyer can focus on the General Manager search rather than a surprising managerial search.