After wild trade deadline, David Ross ready for next chapter with Cubs
WASHINGTON D.C. — Less than two hours after the Cubs made Friday’s trades official, David Ross spoke with the media and reflected on the moves and tenure of his now-former players.
The emotions were still very raw.
It’s when he settled into the third base dugout at Nationals Park a couple of hours later that he put that past him. He was ready for the new challenge that faces he and his coaching staff.
“Last night as the game started there was a moment there where I felt like I switched gears to like, ‘ok let’s see what we’ve got, let’s see who can impact us,’” Ross said. “Let’s see who’s gonna make their reputation and start to impact this uniform, this organization in a positive way to get back to being where we wanna be and playing championship caliber baseball.”
That’s his responsibility now. Ross will help the younger players on the Cubs’ roster as they grow with more and more playing time. For him, that means making slight changes to how he has been managing.
Instead of turning to a veteran bullpen arm or a veteran pinch hitter off the bat, he might let a pitcher work out of a jam or a hitter face a tough matchup to see how they respond. That’s how they’ll improve and grow.
“There’ll be moments of that,” Ross said. “We’re gonna still try to win the baseball game, [but] guys will have a little more of a leash.”
In the clubhouse, he still has some veterans who will help in the maturation of some of the players. Kyle Hendricks, Willson Contreras, Jake Arrieta and Jason Heyward have all won a World Series with the Cubs, so they know what it takes to get back to the top.
“I’ve had those conversations with those guys and talked about that,” Ross said. “I also know that after yesterday, there’s a moment to move forward and to be doing some things maybe a little bit differently that I’d like to make as well.”
Pair of new faces
The two players the Cubs acquired for Craig Kimbrel — RHP Codi Heuer and INF Nick Madrigal — both have MLB experience and played a role in the White Sox run to the playoffs last season.
Ross is excited to use Heuer out of the bullpen. He believes with some tweaks, the Cubs can help him rediscover his 2020 form.
“There’s some things that we identified internally that feel we can impact him and continue to have his career grow,” Ross said. “I think it’s a real arm that can get real outs for us.”
Heuer shined in his debut.
He entered in a bases-loaded jam with no outs and induced a grounder for a forceout at home, a sacrifice fly and a groundout to escape allowing just 1 run.
In Madrigal, the Cubs believe they have a real hitter who can hit for high average and can balance out a lineup.
“Just a pesky at-bat,” Ross said. “I think he’s gonna be a guy that gets on base and hopefully in front of or behind some guys to bring up some big boppers to be that run to be driven in.”