David Ross said he’s super excited about being with the Cubs and the upcoming season. The Cubs’ new backup catcher explained to Casey Stern and Brad Lidge on Inside Pitch (MLB Network Radio) last week that by signing Jon Lester and bringing in Joe Maddon, the Cubs showed a commitment to winning.
Ross admitted he did a lot of research that included talking to former teammates Ryan Dempster, Mark DeRosa and Eric Hinske before signing with the Cubs.
David Ross and Brad Lidge are basically the same age, but Ross is still playing. Ross hired a personal trainer this winter that’s helped him prepare for the upcoming season.
“For me, last year I felt really old playing for the first time in my career in Boston. I don’t know whether it was the short off-season. I didn’t get to prepare or what it was, but there were days I would get to the park and I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve really got to get myself going.’ It was harder than it had ever been for me in my career.”
“So what I did this off-season was got a personal trainer for the first time and it’s changed my life,” Ross said on MLB Network Radio. “I feel amazing. I feel strong. The ball is coming off my bat really well. I feel good running. Just everything, things that I don’t really have to do I feel really, really strong and explosive for the first time in probably about a year and a half.”
Ross is not sure what is future is beyond the two years he’s signed on to play with the Cubs.
“These two years in Chicago I want to win. I’m excited about winning, winning kind of keeps you wanting to play. Coming off this last season in Boston it was one of those things I wasn’t sure how much longer I wanted to play.”
“I don’t think there is too much more left in the tank for me. I think it’s time. My kids are getting older, my daughter turned eight today. It’s just getting time to spend some time with the kids,” Ross said. “So, I’m going to play these two years out and then take a good look in the mirror and sit down and talk to my family and see where we are at.”
David Ross joked about being the ‘grandpa’ in the Cubs clubhouse with all of the young players. He’s looking forward to working with them, teaching them what he’s learned over the course of his career and learning from them as well.
“[Anthony] Rizzo and I got a chance to hang out for a couple of days when he was in town for the Notre Dame-FSU football game. I got to talk to him a lot. He was like the veteran guy on their team at 25, so that was kind of funny to me. I’m going to be the old grandpa in the locker room.”
“I’m excited. To watch the at bats, I remember this group came in [to Boston], they have good at bats, they are young, fearless, they swing for the fences and they’ve got a good approach with that and there’s a lot of young power there that’s not in the game. It’s hard to find those guys and they have a bunch of it.”
“I’m looking to get to Spring Training and just get my own opinion after a few days of work and see these guys go about their business. You know as well as I do, young talent is great but it’s also unpredictable,” Ross said. “I want to get there and have some fun and help them with the lessons I’ve learned over my career and hopefully they can teach me a little bit and keep me young.”
The next big free agent to sign will be Yoan Moncada. While the Cubs have been one of the most aggressive teams in the pursuit of the 19-year old infielder, at least according to the latest from Nick Cafardo, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer cannot sign him until July 2. And he is expected to be in a minor league system by then destroying the baseball.
Nick Cafardo listed the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Brewers and Cubs as being the teams that “have been the most aggressive” and the Athletics, Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Rays and Rangers “also covet him.”
More teams are in on Moncada than those sitting out the bidding process that could reach a total of $100 million.
In the Padres attempt to acquire all of the players this winter, San Diego worked out Moncada on Monday, according to Jeff Passan. Preller plans “to be very aggressive in bidding for him.”
There are rumblings Moncada could sign with a team very soon while reports have stated he has workouts and possibly a second round of interviews scheduled throughout the month.
All signs are pointing to Yoan Moncada signing with the team that offers him the most money a lot sooner than July 2.
Jon Lester is already at the Cubs facility preparing for the start of Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers do not have to be in Mesa until Feb. 19, but Lester wanted to get there early and try to settle in. This spring is Lester’s first outside of the Red Sox organization and his first in Arizona.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Lester knows the importance of getting to know his teammates and “bonding like brothers” if the Cubs are going to reach their goals this season.
Jon Lester, like Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio, brought up the importance of the team pulling “the same direction on the same rope.” Lester said the guys “must mesh together and bond and become brothers and hopefully that takes us to the end, and if it doesn’t, we’ll keep busing our butt to get to that prize.”
Reactions to James Shields Signing
- The next move may be as important as the last ones for Padres and A.J. Preller according to Ken Rosenthal.
- According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs don’t get Shields, but points for trying.
- Keith Law reported James Shields gives the Padres a pitching surplus.
- Jeff Passan explained how James Shields fell into the Padres’ lap through strategic bumbling.
- The USA Today reported James Shields gives the Padres a pulse after a wild winter.
- ESPN looked at the difference between the Padres defense and the Royals defense … and James Shields will not get as much help from his new teammates as he received in Kansas City.
A former Cubs’ back-up catcher was back in the news Monday. According to reports, the Tigers and Blue Jays have discussed a deal for Dioner Navarro. Mike Wilner of SportsNet 590 shot down the Tigers and Blue Jays actually discussing the player while stating the Tigers have had internal conversations about Navarro.
The Tigers may be looking for a catcher with the concussion question marks surrounding Alex Avila and Victor Martinez out until at least Opening Day. Dave Dombrowski looked at Martinez as catching depth in case Avila’s issues continued.
Dioner Navarro is owed $5 million for the upcoming season on the two-year, $8 million contract he inked in December 2013.
If the Tigers are looking for a catcher, keep an eye on Detroit during Spring Training as a possible trading partner for Welington Castillo. And with the lefties in the AL Central, Castillo could help as a DH as well.
Cubs Spring Training Broadcasts
The White Sox announced their Spring Training broadcast schedule Monday, which includes two games against the Cubs. And one of those games was not part of the broadcast schedule the Cubs announced last week.
The Cubs’ exhibition game against the White Sox on March 20 from Camelback Ranch in Glendale will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.
News, Notes and Rumors
Jason Motte has a special bond with cancer victims according to a report from the Sporting News.
The Cubs and Nationals own the trademark on ‘W’ and for two years the two franchises and MLB have been in a trademark dispute with WalletHub, a site run by Evolution Finance according to a report from the Washington Post.
Mark Grote is joining Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer in the Cubs’ radio booth for the upcoming season. Grote grew up going to Cubs’ games and he told Robert Feder for him, next year is here.
From Hardball Talk’s Aaron Gleeman … Best career on-base percentage among active centerfielders: Mike Trout (.395), Andrew McCutchen (.385), Dexter Fowler (.366), Jon Jay (.359).
One time Cubs’ front office target, Rick Porcello, is starting to sound like Jon Lester according to a report from NESN.com.
Lou Piniella was on The Kap & Haugh Show and talked about managing the Cubs and gave advice to Joe Maddon.
And last, but not least, Fred McGriff is back with the Atlanta Braves as a special assistant in the baseball operations department. McGriff will be a Spring Training instructor before receiving scouting assignments from the amateur ranks to the majors during the season.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Scott Hairston
1989 – Liam Hendriks, born
1980 – Cesar Izturis, born
1978 – Cubs signed free agent Tim Blackwell
1950 – Cubs purchased Frank Hiller from the Yankees
1950 – Cubs purchased Johnny Vander Meer from the Reds
1939 – Cubs purchased Julio Bonetti from the Browns
1926 – Randy Jackson, born
1916 – Cubs purchased Nick Allen from the Buffalo Blues
1916 – Cubs purchased Mordecai Brown from the Whales
1916 – Cubs Purchased Gene Packard from the Kansas City Packers
1916 – Cubs purchased Tom Seaton from the Newark Pepper
1916 – Cubs purchased Steve Yerkes from the Pittsburgh Rebels
1910 – Bob Logan, born