LAS VEGAS — Could David Ross be dancing with the Cubs again?
As reports circulated Tuesday night that the Orioles will hire Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde as their new manager, the likelihood of the Cubs reaching out to offer their former clubhouse leader a coaching job seemed especially high.
Cubs executives have talked for two months about the leadership and edge that were missing from the clubhouse in 2018, and they made it a priority to add a Ross-type personality to their bench this offseason.
“David Ross had such a big impact on the group when he was here,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday when addressing that issue, calling it a “miscalculation” by the front office in believing the young core was ready to fly solo in 2018. “I think the right guy with the right professionalism does make a difference.”
Returning to the daily grind and heavy travel of the baseball season might be the bigger issue for Ross, who mentioned his family and young kids when he retired after the 2016 season.
Ross, who went on to additional “Dancing With the Stars” fame, has spent the last two seasons with the Cubs in a part-time role as a baseball operations special assistant. His time around players was expected to increase in 2019.
“His mere presence is helpful,” Hoyer said.
Manager Joe Maddon could have five new coaches on his staff in 2019.
“These guys really make a difference in the fabric,” Maddon said. “David was unusual because he would grab guys walking off the field after a play. And I would be entertained in my corner watching the whole thing unfold, and I would address it afterwards.
“I know that some of the guys were afraid to come in the dugout [after a poor decision], and that’s OK, because they knew David was on their side. Every team out here wants that, and those are hard to find.”
Notes: The Blue Jays released former All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki with two years left on his contract, making him a minimum-salary-cost free agent to another team. He has a strong clubhouse reputation and would be a fit for the Cubs if not for persistent health questions after missing much of the last two seasons with injuries. …Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday that owner Tom Ricketts was not in Las Vegas. So much for the Cubs being the team whose “mystery owner” flew to Vegas to meet with free-agent slugger Bryce Harper (per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman). …Sources say the Cubs plan to add two established relievers — “not high end” — but that it likely won’t happen until the market plays out, possibly into next month.