By Bruce Levine–
(CBS) The well-deserved hiring of Dave Martinez as the new Nationals manager has left the Cubs needing a new bench coach. Could it be the ever popular David Ross who fills that role?
Ross and his magical tour of duty with the Cubs in 2015 and 2016 and his post-career celebrity are the stuff that movies are made of. Since helping the Cubs win the World Series in 2016 and then retiring, Ross has been a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” released a book about his career, proposed a movie about his Cubs tenure and become an ESPN analyst on television.
Martinez spent the past 10 seasons as manager Joe Maddon’s bench coach, the first seven in Tampa Bay and the last three in Chicago. The idea that the Cubs could turn to Ross — who already works as a special assistant to the front office — isn’t a reach. Ross is a natural leader who many believe will be a future big league manager. Ross could get his coaching start and build his resume under Maddon, and he’s already wildly popular in the Cubs clubhouse.
Ross has indicated he’s currently unsure of what he wants to do next baseball season. He’s previously said his first priority will be his family, and any full-time job he takes would be a family decision. It’s also possible Ross prefers his current flexibility and opportunities in his post-playing career and doesn’t yet want a permanent coaching job.
The Cubs’ managerial job appears to be the 63-year-old Maddon’s for as long as he wants it, and Maddon and Ross have a good relationship. Maddon has two years left on his contract at about $5 million annually.
Other in-house candidates for the vacant bench coach job include quality assurance coach Henry Blanco and first-base coach Brandon Hyde.
Martinez is the fifth member of the Cubs’ staff to leave since season’s end, joining pitching coach Chris Bosio, hitting coach John Mallee, assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske and third-base coach Gary Jones. Jim Hickey has agreed to a deal to become the Cubs’ new pitching coach, though it hasn’t been announced. Chili Davis has been hired as the new hitting coach, while Brian Butterfield will take over as third-base coach. Andy Haines was promoted internally to assistant hitting coach.
It’s not known if Martinez will be allowed to take any Cubs coaches or other staffers with him to the Nationals.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.