As David Ross’s second season as Chicago Cubs’ manager comes to an end, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer had nothing but good things to say about the skipper.
Before the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Cardinals, Hoyer praised Ross, saying, “I think he’s already an excellent manager and he has a chance to be really special at this job.”
I agree completely with Hoyer’s comments. Ross’s first two seasons as the Cubs manager have been riddled with absolute chaos.
Year one for David Ross was the most unique season we will likely see in our lifetimes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a time when it was uncertain if there would be a 2020 MLB season, and it eventually turned into a 60-game season with an expanded playoff format.
In his rookie season as the Cubs manager, Ross led the North siders to a 34-26 record and an NL Central Division championship. On top of that, the Cubs were the only team to not have a positive COVID test from a player. Although the Cubs fell to the Marlins and quickly exited the playoffs, they showed resiliency and maturity amidst challenging circumstances.
Season two is not yet over, but the story is most definitely already written. The Cubs got off to a slow start but followed that up by being the best team in the MLB in the month of May. All of that feels like it was years ago because of what would happen later. After the Cubs threw a combined no-hitter against the Dodgers in late June, they lost 11 straight games to fall from first place in the division to third place in the blink of an eye.
If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Cubs underwent an epic fire sale at the July trade deadline. Three of the most important players in franchise history found new homes, and the hearts of Cubs fans everywhere were ripped out of their chests. Like plenty of Cubs fans, it would have been easy for the team to give up and go through the motions for the rest of the season. But after getting their footing back, the Cubs started to play ‘relatively’ good baseball, including a seven-game winning streak from late August into early September.
The Cubs have seen emergences from players such as Frank Schwindel, Rafael Ortega, and Patrick Wisdom in addition to Ian Happ coming back to life. Most of the credit belongs to the players in that case, the role that Ross and the rest of the coaching staff played down the stretch for these guys can’t be understated. The Cubs’ offense has mounted several impressive comebacks, even if they end up falling short sometimes.
Reason For Optimism
Along with Hoyer’s positive comments about David Ross came reports indicating the Cubs are planning to sign Ross to a contract extension.
That news is music to my ears because I have loved what I’ve seen from David Ross and the rest of the coaching staff in 2021. Continuity going forward is going to be important for the Cubs because of how many young players they will be developing and depending on.
Guys like Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, and Adbert Alzolay will continue their development with the hopes of them sticking in the rotation. In the field, Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ, and Nick Madrigal are still trying to find their place in the league. On top of that, several of the Cubs’ top-rated prospects are knocking on the door: Brennen Davis, Christopher Morel, Brailyn Marquez, and even Miguel Amaya.
Continuity will be key to developing the young Cubs players that will hopefully turn into the next core.