Cubs send strong message about manager David Ross

The Cubs had a roller-coaster season in 2023. The club entered the campaign with a projected win total of just 76.5 according to Fangraphs and fell to ten games below .500 by early June, prompting speculation that the club would deal Marcus Stroman in Cody Bellinger in what seemed sure to go down as the third straight rebuilding year for Chicago. The team turned things around, however, rattling off a 27-17 record from mid June to the end of July and prompting the club to add Jeimer Candelario rather than execute the anticipated sell-off. The club entered early September with their playoff odds soaring to over 90% but collapsed down the stretch, ultimately losing 15 of their last 22 to miss the playoff by just one game.

Given the club’s peculiar season, it’s hardly a surprise that manager David Ross emerged as a polarizing figure among Cubs fans. That being said, club officials remained steadfast in their support of the manager, with both chairman Tom Ricketts and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer backing Ross as the club’s manager headed into 2024. With that being said, The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney indicate that Ross’s spot as manager is less certain in the long term, saying that “The bottom line is that the 2024 team has to win or else Hoyer may be forced to look in another direction” for the club’s manager.

The 2023 campaign was Ross’s fourth season as manager, and his second with a winning record. He managed a third place finish in NL Manager of the Year voting when the Cubs made the postseason under his guidance during the shortened 2020 campaign, though the club was swept by the Marlins in the Wild Card Series. The club then began rebuilding in 2021 and 2022 with consecutive deadline sell-offs that saw the departure of established regulars like Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. Overall, Ross sports a 262-284 record as Chicago’s manager.

More notes regarding managerial situations around the league…

  • After being fired as Mets manager last week, veteran skipper Buck Showalter is reportedly hoping to return to the dugout, with the vacancy in Anaheim drawing his particular interest. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Angels are reciprocating Showalter’s interest, with Nightengale noting that Showalter was the first choice of ex-Angels GM Billy Eppler to lead the club following the 2019 season before the club ultimately decided on Joe Maddon. Eppler has since been replaced as the club’s GM by Perry Minasian, though Nightengale notes that he and Showalter worked together when Showalter was manager of the Rangers from 2003-06.
  • Nightengale also discusses other potential managerial candidates around the league, describing Rangers associate manager Will Venable as “the favorite” to take over for retiring Guardians manager Terry Francona in Cleveland. 2023 was Venable’s first season as associate manager in Texas. Prior to joining the Rangers, he acted as bench coach of the Red Sox under Alex Cora and as a base coach for the Cubs. Venable has been a frequent subject of interest during a variety of managerial searches in recent years, interviewing for the position with the Cubs, Giants, Astros, Tigers and A’s in the past. Nightengale also mentions Marlins first base coach Jon Jay as a “potential candidate” for managerial openings around the league, though he does not specify which clubs may have interest in Jay, who just wrapped up his first season in the big league dugout.

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