Former Chicago Cubs manager David Ross wants to 'figure out what's next' after surprise firing

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross pauses in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Former Chicago Cubs manager David Ross spoke for the first time since his surprising firing at the beginning of the week. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

David Ross understands why the Chicago Cubs decided to hire Craig Counsell as the club's new manager.

Just because it came at his expense and in a surprise move doesn't mean the former skipper doesn't get it.

“If my boss doesn't think I am a good manager, then he should move on," Ross told the Tallahassee Democrat's Jim Henry on Thursday. "I don't fault him for that. If he doesn't think I am the right guy, that's his job. That's his choice. I have my own thoughts and opinions that I will keep to myself.”

On Monday, the Cubs announced they were dismissing Ross after four seasons at the helm and hiring Counsell to a five-year, $40 million contract, making Counsell the highest-paid manager in MLB history.

"Today we made the difficult decision to dismiss David Ross as our Major League manager," Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said in a statement. "On behalf of the Cubs organization, we express our deep gratitude for David’s contributions to our club, both on and off the field."

After falling 10 games below .500 this summer, Chicago raced back into the National League wild-card picture and challenged the Milwaukee Brewers for the division title before falling out of the race at the end of the regular season.

While the Brewers — managed by Counsell — won the NL Central with a 92-70 record, the Cubs (83-79) still had a chance to sneak into the playoffs via the NL wild-card. Instead, Chicago stumbled at the end, and the Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks, who went on to win the NL pennant, narrowly beat the Cubs to squeeze into the postseason.

Ross, who signed a three-year extension in 2022, finished 262-284 as Chicago's manager, with one NL Central title (2020) during his tenure. The 46-year-old said he refuses to allow negative feelings to consume him, and he's in the early stages of figuring out his next steps.

“Anger and all that stuff is poison for me,” Ross told the Democrat.

“It's time for me to figure out what's next. I have a lot of gratitude. Some of the toughest times of my life, whether it's getting released or different things in my career, on and off the field, have been blessings at some point. Have made me a better man. There's been a lot of good things after some really tough times in my life. Hopefully this is another one of them.

"I try to trust in my faith and God, knowing he's got something else planned for me. That's the way I am looking at it."

Hoyer informed Ross that he was being relieved in a face-to-face conversation Monday at Ross' home in Florida. Hoyer said the firing of Ross and hiring of Counsell was very difficult.

"Yes, it was incredibly hard to let Rossy go," he told reporters during the general managers meetings this week in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Chicago will likely always hold a special place in Ross' heart. As a catcher, he helped the Cubs win the World Series in 2016. And when Chicago looked for its next manager after Joe Maddon, Ross, who had no coaching experience, was tapped to replace his former skipper in 2019.

To that end, Ross will always have gratitude toward the organization, even if the ending came surprisingly and unceremoniously.

“I think the thing that comes over me is that I am extremely thankful for the opportunity, to be honest,” Ross said.

“There was a lot of people who worked really hard alongside me. ... I am really thankful for the four years I got, coming from zero coaching experience to getting the chance to manage such a great organization that has impacted my life in a great way. There's great people there. I really don't have a whole lot negative to say, to be honest.

“I get mad from time to time, but I have a lot to be thankful for.”