The Chicago Cubs are crossing their fingers that Jason Heyward can break out of his horrid slump. Heyward has had a rough season thus far hitting .231 with an on-base percentage of .321. Heyward’s line drive percentage (29%) is the highest of his career and his strikeout ratio (19.1 percent) which is his highest since 2012.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon dropped Heyward in the batting order in a move he is hoping will help turn things around for him.
“Just give him a little break out of that 2-hole and see if we can get him going in the right direction on a more consistent basis,” Maddon said on Monday.”We talked about it. He was fine with it.”
“Just rearrange the deck chairs and see how it plays,” Maddon said. “A week before the All-Star break, you can look at it, evaluate it. It’ll look different when we come back. Just get a feel for it right now.”
Heyward did seem fine with it and also seemed upbeat regarding the move.
“Joe wants to mix it up and continue to do things to help us as a group,” Heyward said. “I’m not really thinking about that. Just trying to help the team win.”
The Cubs are due to get some players back from the disabled list, including Dexter Fowler. Chicago is 5-9 since Fowler went down with injury. Fowler tested his hamstring on Monday with some agility drills.
“It’s a lot better,” Fowler said. “I picked up the intensity. It felt good. Hopefully it’s not long.”
Fowler is likely to be named to the All-Star game, something both Maddon and Fowler commented on with Maddon saying that if he is ready to play on Tuesday then he’ll play in the All-Star Game.
“Coincidence more than anything,” Maddon said. “We’re not trying to push for him to play in the All-Star Game. This is all conjecture. You don’t want the timing to interfere with what you would have wanted anyway.”
Fowler wants to play in the game but doesn’t know how the week will play out.
“I don’t know the future,” Fowler said. “You want to be cautious with it. I haven’t had any setbacks. It’s getting better fast.”
Cubs Non-Tender Addison Russell
While the Chicago Cubs tendered contracts to six arbitration-eligible players for the 2020 season, there was one notable name they decided to non-tender: Addison Russell.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Russell, 25, will now hit free agency following five years with the Cubs, the last two proving to be rough for the infielder.
The Cubs tendered Russell for 2019 after he was suspended for 40 games near the end of the 2018 season for violating the league’s domestic abuse policies, forcing him to miss the first 28 games of the 2019 season.
Russell, a National League All-Star in 2016, was later demoted to the minors, after he struggled on the field.
“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a statement. “In the year since we decided to tender Addison a contract last November, he has lived up to his promise to put in the important self-improvement work necessary off the field and has shown growth, as a person, as a partner, as a parent and as a citizen. We hope and believe that Addison’s work will continue, and we have offered our continued support of him and his family, including [ex-wife] Melisa [Reidy].
“In the last year, the organization has also put in the important work necessary to bolster our domestic violence prevention training for all employees, all major league players, all minor league players and all staff. We also offered healthy relationship workshops for the players’ partners and provided intensive, expert domestic violence prevention training for player-facing staff. This heightened training and our increased community involvement on the urgent issue of domestic violence prevention will continue indefinitely. We wish Addison and his family well.”
Russel was a key factor in the Cubs winning the World Series after a 108 year drought back in 2016, with a Grand Slam in Game 6 which catapulted the Cubs back from a 3-2 deficit in the series.
Cubs Hiring David Ross
The Chicago Cubs have found their new manager and are hiring David Ross to take the reigns of the team, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Ross, 42, beat out five other candidates to replace Joe Maddon, who parted ways with the organization and is now the manager of the Los Angeles Angels, and was a player when the Cubs won the World Series a few years ago.
Ross hit a memorable home run in Game 7 back in 2016, helping to propel the Cubs to a World Series championship.
“I’ve always looked at Rossy as a coach when he played here,” Cubs superstar Kris Bryant said. “Yeah, it was goofy, it was fun, it was energetic, but when he needed to tell you something, he let you hear it. From the very get-go, I felt like this guy will be a manager some day for sure.”
Cubs first base coach Will Venable, bench coach Mark Loretta, former Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada were all in the running for the job, and have been informed of the team’s decision to hire Ross.
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Ex-Cub David Ross Interested in Cubs’ Manager Job
Former Chicago Cubs catcher, and current ESPN analyst, David Ross is interested in taking over for Joe Maddon as the team’s manager.
Ross, 42, who is considered a leading candidate to succeed Maddon as the team’s manager, was asked during Sunday’s Baseball Tonight show if he would have interest in the job if the team reached out to him.
“I think it’s one of the best jobs in baseball,” Ross said. “I’ve got a lot of close ties with those guys. I think the interest would be there. I think my heart is drawn to that dugout a little bit.
“The rumors are flattering. It makes you think about a lot of things. I’ve got a nice job here at ESPN that I enjoy and gives me a lot of free time with my three kids.”
Ross played his final two seasons with the Cubs, which included a World Series championship in 2016.
Ross was asked if the close relationships with many of the players would impact his job as manager.
“You never know until you sit in the manager’s seat how hard it really is to have those tough conversations with guys” Ross responded.
“I’m kind of an open person; when I was teammates with a lot of these guys I shot them straight.
“I loved my teammates when I played with them; every team that I played for. But I also try to tell guys the truth in love, and so I think the best managers I have had do that exact same thing — they have great conversations, they communicate, they walk that line between authority and leadership and being a friend as well. I think that’s the line you’ve got to kind of walk with players and you never know until you are in that seat.
“I’ve got a lot of thinking to do if this gets presented to me as everyone says will happen. I’m sure waiting for that phone call.”
Ross would certainly be welcomed by players if he were to be hired, and Cubs’ superstar Kris Bryant talked about Ross’ potential as the next manager of the team.
“I’ve always looked at Rossy as a coach when he played here,” Bryant said, according to ESPN. “Yeah, it was goofy, it was fun, it was energetic. But when he needed to tell you something, he let you hear it. From the very get-go, I felt like this guy will be a manager some day for sure.”
Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo also chimed in and shared his thoughts about the possibility of Ross being the manager.
“If it was Rossy, I’d obviously sit down; I’ve talked to him about it before,” Rizzo said. “He’s in a really good place now at home with his family and what he’s doing and he’s happy. The pros and the cons. I mean, he’s the biggest mentor in this game other than [Maddon]. Can it work? Yes. But I don’t know which direction we are going in.”
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