MESA, Ariz. — Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer made it clear last year that he hoped manager David Ross would be with the club for a long time. On Friday, the Cubs took a step to make that happen.
Ross and the Cubs agreed to a three-year contract extension, the team announced. The deal replaces the final year of his previous contract and runs through 2024 with a club option for 2025.
“It’s nice to do this on a great day yesterday, with baseball being back,” Ross said Friday after shagging fly balls during batting practice. “And today, we get to see some players around here. It’s nice to have these guys hit in the background and taking ground balls. So it feels right, finally.”
The move was no surprise. Hoyer said in October that the team already had “preliminary talks” with Ross about an extension. Then MLB initiated a lockout in December. Teams were allowed to make managerial decisions even while they were barred from contacting big-league players.
“But I don’t know that, without much news, it made a lot of sense to be like, ‘Here’s what’s going on with Rossy,’ ’’ the manager said, laughing.
Ross, a former catcher who finished his playing career with the Cubs, had a unique start to his managerial career.
“I feel like I’ve been able to weather some storms,” he said, “and I’ve learned a ton in the first two years. I’ve learned a ton with just dealing with things outside of our control and trying to follow the lead of great leadership that I have.”
David Ross on his contract extension: pic.twitter.com/DQ9dhLR5zo— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) March 11, 2022
Ross stepped to the helm ahead of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The rookie manager guided his team to a division title and was a National League Manager of the Year finalist.
The next season, Ross navigated the Cubs’ trade-deadline sell-off. The team finished with a 71-91 record and in fourth place in the NL Central.
“The fact that it wasn’t two easy years is part of why we have such comfort in giving the extension,” Hoyer said. “He’s had to deal with real adversity, real uncertainty, and he’s done it really smoothly.”
Ross enters the 2022 season with a 105-117 record. And, finally, after a 99-day lockout, he has players to manage.
MLB announced the 2022 spring-training schedule Friday. The Cubs open Cactus League play on the road against the Giants on March 18. Over 19 days, they play 19 games, including a split-squad doubleheader April 1. They close spring training against the Rangers at Surprise Stadium.
Ross’ coaching staff has gone through a couple of adjustments recently. Craig Driver, who was the Cubs’ first-base coach the last two seasons, will be the strategy and catching coach this year. He fills the hole left by Mike Borzello’s departure. Mike Napoli, the former quality-assurance coach, becomes the first-base coach.