Former backup catcher and World Series champion set to replace Joe Maddon as Cubs skipper in 2020
In the most unsurprising move of what will be a busy offseason for the Cubs, they have made their decision on the next manager. Front office, locker room, and fan favorite David Ross has been hired to replace Joe Maddon as Cubs manager in 2020. The deal is a three-year deal with a club option for 2023. Local and national media had pegged Ross as the front-runner since the last day of the regular season when the Cubs announced that they mutually agreed to part ways with Joe Maddon. ESPN’s David Kaplan and Jesse Rogers were the first to break the news on Wednesday morning.
After being carried off the field in Cleveland after the Cubs broke the curse in 2016, the Cubs hired Ross to join the front office as a special assistant. Since he joined the front office, the Cubs have been grooming him to potentially join the coaching staff and that finally came to fruition on Thursday. The Cubs feel that Ross is a great communicator with a great attitude that will hold players and staff accountable in all aspects of the game. Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein says in the press release “He is a natural connector with a high baseball IQ and a passion for winning.”
His relationships with the players that he took the field with just three seasons ago will be key to his success as a manager and will also be his biggest challenge. Ross is very close with players such as Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester, and Javier Baez as they saw him as “Grandpa Rossy”, the big brother figure that became so loved and respected in the clubhouse. However, going from being their friend to their manager, the dynamic has to and will change. Ross will be challenged to pull Jon Lester at the end of a game when he gets into trouble or sit Anthony Rizzo or Javy Baez for a game when they’re in a slump. Those types of tough decisions will be a challenge for the Cubs and David Ross but Theo Epstein and the front office believe that he not only can handle those situations but they feel that the players will respect him and the decisions he will have to make. In the press release, the Cubs addressed that his relationships with the players is an asset to them but did not hold significant weight in their decision to hire David Ross and will not necessarily be critical in his long term success as a manager. The dynamic will be interesting and something to watch moving forward.
Now that the Cubs have their new manager in place, the next step is the off-season and it is expected to be a busy one as the Cubs try to get back on track and back into the postseason in 2020.
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Stephen Sciaraffa is currently a graduate student at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. Born in Chicago, Stephen spends his free time following the Cubs and taking in games at beautiful Wrigley Field with his dad. You can add him on twitter here