David Ross has certainly not had an easy time as Cubs manager.
In his first year, the season was shortened to 60 games by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, the Cubs won the NL Central, before being dispatched quickly in the postseason.
In his second year, the Cubs ran out to a division lead and appeared to be contenders, then utterly collapsed with an 11-game losing streak and then the team’s best players were all traded away.
Thus I don’t think Ross has ever really had a chance to show how well he could manage a baseball team under “normal” circumstances.
Last week, reporters asked Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer about Ross’ status going forward:
In October 2019, Ross signed a three-year contract with the Cubs. While it may seem like just yesterday, without an extension, Ross would be heading into next season as a lame-duck manager, surely a situation Hoyer would like to avoid.
“I think that’s a question for next week,” Hoyer said. “But it’s a fair question next week. And like I said, I love working with him. He’s already an excellent manager, and I think he has a chance to be really special in his job.”
All right, now it’s next week, so I’m going to answer that question, at least from my own point of view.
Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, who wrote that article, is correct. The Cubs certainly don’t want to go into 2022 with Ross in the final year of his three-year contract with questions swirling all year regarding his status.
Further, in general I think Ross has done a good job. Obviously the results in wins and losses this year aren’t good — entering today Ross now has a 101-115 overall record as Cubs manager — but I think he has done well at putting a disparate group of post-selloff players together and for the most part, has them playing hard even though they are clearly overmatched most of the time. Further, Ross and Hoyer have a lot of history, going all the way back to the time Ross was signed to the Red Sox late in 2008 and impressed Hoyer (then Red Sox assistant GM) and Theo Epstein with his baseball knowledge.
The Cubs are going to spend money this offseason, “intelligently,” per Hoyer. They will be a better team in 2022 than they are right now.
Ross deserves a chance to manage that team. So I’m proposing Hoyer offer him a two-year extension beyond the end of his current deal, so it will run through the 2024 season and five years in all. That should be enough time, with a revamped roster, to show management that Ross either is, or isn’t, the right guy for the Cubs going forward.
I hope the extension is offered this week, before the season ends. That would put all questions about Cubs field management to rest for a while and we can all focus on talking about how the team on the field is going to be improved.
Should David Ross be given a contract extension?
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