The Chicago Cubs most influential offseason acquisition will not get a single hit the entire year. He will not throw a single strike. He won’t make any spectacular diving plays on defense.
Instead, he will be donning the Cubbie blue as his first year managing the boys on the North Side. The most influential acquisition the Cubs will make all offseason is David Wade Ross.
David Ross has been a leader well before he will manage his first game for the Chicago Cubs. His contemporaries in the clubhouse looked up to him en route to the 2016 World Series. A quick look at quotes from some of the stars of this franchise will show you just that.
“I’ve always looked at Rossy as a coach when he played here,” Bryant told reporters in September. “Yeah, it was goofy, it was fun, it was energetic, but when he needed to tell you something, he let you hear it. From the very get-go, I felt like this guy will be a manager someday.”
He’s my biggest mentor in the game player-wise, really, behind Joe [Maddon] and [former Cubs coach Eric] Hinske. Can it work? Yes.” Anthony Rizzo told reporters.
The biggest question of course was his relationship with said players, many were concerned he may be too close to them. David Ross quickly silenced those thoughts upon being hired.
“Those guys know I’ll be the first to hold them accountable, the first to demand their best daily effort, and the first to let them know about it if they give anything but their best. I never had any problem dishing out a lot of tough love as their teammate, and that won’t change as their manager,” Ross said in a statement.
By now, majority of fans think that Ross is a good fit for this team. He has said all the right things and seems set on holding everyone accountable. The biggest question is what can we expect from the first year manager?
In the previous 2 seasons, 40% of the managers who were in their first year with a team finished above .500. The average finish for new managers was directly at a .507 winning percentage. Two of these managers made the playoffs, with Alex Cora winning the World Series in his first season with the Red Sox in 2018. The legitimacy of this championship is still being investigated by the MLB.
Obviously some of these managers were brought into situations and handed a playoff ready team. In most situations, a new manager is brought into a team in shambles.
David Ross has been brought in to a team with playoff expectations. Although this team has not met expectations in previous years, fans expect this team to play into October. Grandpa Rossy has a roster with holes not yet filled by the front office but this core is more than capable of a playoff appearance in year 1 for the new skipper.
If David Ross fails, it will not be because of lack of preparation. He has certainly done his homework prior to his first MLB exam of 2020. According to Jesse Rogers, Ross has spent time speaking with some of the most successful leaders throughout not just baseball but sports. He has spoken with the likes of Nick Saban, Joe Torre, Alex Cora, Dave Roberts, and others.
There will be growing pains. Joe Maddon was often criticized for his bullpen management and lack of starting lineup consistency. David Ross has expressed how much he has learned from Joe Maddon. One would hope he has also learned what not to do as a manager. I think juggling a bullpen is a struggle for majority of managers, I expect this to be a growing pain especially for first year managers. David Ross seems like someone who thrives under structure. I expect to see a lot more lineup consistency under the new regime.
My one word of advice to Cubs fans is be patient. Remember this, David Ross is filling in for arguably the most successful manager in the history of the Chicago Cubs. As I previously mentioned, he has not been given a plethora of resources from his bosses. This season will not be easy, but I can guarantee you David Ross will give it his all. If there is anyone I want leading this franchise, it is someone providing optimism like this:
“My goal is to win,” Ross said at the Winter Meetings. “As the roster stands right now, this is a group that is expected to win. I think we’ve got a chance to win the division and the World Series. There’s a lot of talent in this group, and my expectations will never falter from that. I won’t ever not expect to win the World Series, that’s for sure.”