David Ross’s Seat is Not “Anywhere Near” Getting Hot
When a team’s results in the W/L column don’t come close to matching the underlying individual performances, the manager’s decisions are always going to come under extra scrutiny (setting aside the question on whether the manager has played a part in getting those successful individual performances out of his guys in the first place).
So it is with fourth year manager David Ross and the Chicago Cubs, whose abysmal record in one-run games and almost unbelievable mismatch of performances and results have led folks to wonder whether Ross is helping.
You’re going to be mad that I don’t have a strong conclusion yet on that front.
I tend to think Ross is a good clubhouse manager, which is very important. I think he generally gets guys into good match-ups. And he has in the past had quite a bit of success managing a bullpen. I can imagine a world where Ross keeps improving as a manager, and is the right guy for the Cubs for years to come. I can imagine it.
On the flip side, I do not agree with some of his playing time decisions, I’ve made public my disagreements with some of his in-game moves this year, his bullpen levers haven’t worked this year, and I don’t think the lineups have been optimized. I can also imagine a world where Ross winds up not the right manager for the Cubs as they turn over into the next phase in 2024 and beyond.
It’s a mixed bag for a guy who has had a few weird/tough years to kick off his managerial career, but from whom some competitive results were expected this season. So I just don’t yet have a super strong opinion.
With the Cubs now six games under .500 and 5.0 games out in the NL Central, having posted the worst record in baseball (non-A’s division) over the past month, is Ross finally on the hot seat?
Well, according to The Athletic beats, no. He’s not.
It’s a roundup of the status on all 30 MLB managers in this piece, and the Cubs guys say, no, not a hot-seat situation for Ross:
This is Ross’ fourth season, and the Cubs expected improvement, if not quite contention, as they climbed out of their rebuild. Their 11-6 start built optimism, but they since have gone 9-20, playing a number of close games that have magnified Ross’ in-game decision-making.
Which isn’t to say that Ross, 46, is in trouble, not when he is signed through 2024 with an option for 2025 and continues to receive public support from president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer. As The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma wrote in a recent mailbag, “I don’t think Hoyer views Ross as a placeholder and I don’t think he’s anywhere near being on the hot seat.”
Not just on a cool seat, but not anywhere near having that seat warmed up.
So there you go.
It doesn’t really bother me, to be honest, because I never saw a situation where Ross’s job was going to be in peril this season. Given the pandemic and then the rebuild, I still wanted to see a little more of what Ross could do before making a decision on whether I think he’s a good, bad, or average MLB manager. There’s a development process there, too, and Ross came equipped with a lot of what you look for in a future manager.
Not that any of that mattered anyway, because Ross was Jed Hoyer’s hand-picked guy from years earlier, and there was no way he wasn’t going to give Ross AT LEAST through this season for evaluation purposes. I think if things continue to trend poorly and the Cubs finish 20-some games below .500 this year, then there will be a conversation after the season about whether this is working. I just think it would take things going SUPREMELY off the rails – not just the record, but the individuals and the clubhouse – for Hoyer to even consider making an in-season change. I don’t see that happening.