David Ross, Cubs agree to extension through '24 with an option

March 11th, 2022

MESA, Ariz. -- It was already a momentous morning on Friday at the Cubs complex, where a group of big leaguers rolled into camp in the wake of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming to fruition.

The Cubs then marked the occasion with some major news, announcing that the club finalized a contract extension with manager David Ross. The deal, which begins with this 2022 season, runs through the '24 campaign and includes a team option for '25.

"It's nice to do this on a great day," said Ross, as a group of his players worked out on Field 1 behind him. "With baseball being back and first day today we get to see some players around here, it's nice to have these guys hitting in the background and taking ground balls."

Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer noted in October that the sides had engaged in "preliminary talks" on the new contract. With Spring Training now underway, the sides put that bit of anticipated business to rest, ending speculation about the manager's future.

Both Ross and Hoyer acknowledged on Friday that they got to work on the extension during baseball's lockout, but decided to delay the announcement until an appropriate time.

"It feels like 100 years ago now," Hoyer quipped, "but we talked about in October that we wanted to get it done. We've been talking for a long time. We knew during the lockout we would get something done. And we knew at the beginning of the offseason there was potential for a lockout, we're like, 'That's a perfect time to talk through it.'

"I'm really glad we got it done. I couldn't be happier working with Rossy, even all lockout. He was really engaged with us, talking through players and up in Chicago quite a bit. He's a great partner to have and I'm glad we got it done."

Ross, who will turn 45 years old on March 19, has guided the Cubs to a 105-117 record in his first two seasons at the helm. That win-loss ledger does not tell the story of all the manager had to deal with since taking the reins from former Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

In Ross' first year leading the Cubs, MLB dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited the season to 60 games. The manager helped the North Siders navigate the many obstacles of that season, in which the Cubs won the National League Central with a 34-26 record. The Cubs were also the only team in the regular season not to have a positive COVID test come up from among the player group.

"He handled the COVID year incredibly well," Hoyer said. "We got off to an incredible start that year. I think he was part of that start -- that start carried us to a division title."

In '21, it was a tale of two seasons for Ross and the 91-loss Cubs. Chicago was in first place as late as June 24, but then an 11-game losing streak shifted the front office's approach at the Trade Deadline. With more than a dozen players set for free agency, Hoyer and his team went into sell mode and made a slew of franchise-impacting trades.

By the July 30 Trade Deadline, the Cubs had dealt core stars Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, plus closer Craig Kimbrel and others, for a hefty package of prospects. Hoyer said there was "no reason to go halfway" as the Cubs balanced the present and future.

"A group of guys that he played with and won a World Series with," Hoyer said, "trading those guys at the Deadline, he handled that really well. Emotionally, I think it was hard for him, but he didn't waver. He understood why we did it. And I think that gave a lot of comfort."

That created a challenging situation for Ross, whose team used a franchise-record 69 players in 2021. From June 25 through the end of the season, the Cubs went 29-58. That included a 21-36 showing after the Deadline with an overhauled roster.

Throughout the season, Ross received praise from the players and full support from Hoyer, who continued to express confidence in the manager's ability to lead the club through this transition phase. The Cubs backed up that belief on Friday with the contract extension.

"I loved the uniqueness of it, right?" Ross said of the past two seasons. "I feel like I've been able to weather some storms 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."