Cubs

Cubs expect David Ross to take on bigger role next season as Brandon Hyde shifts to bench coach

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USA TODAY

Cubs expect David Ross to take on bigger role next season as Brandon Hyde shifts to bench coach

David Ross took on so many jobs and projects in “retirement” that the Cubs didn’t really have a chance to get him as their new bench coach. Plus, Brandon Hyde has already done the job and is widely respected throughout the organization for his straight-shooting style.  

That locked another piece of Joe Maddon’s staff into place for 2018, when Hyde will shift back into the dugout from the first base coach’s box and Ross will continue to be a special assistant in Theo Epstein’s baseball operations department.  

“I think he’s going to get more involved in that role every year,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday on NBC Sports Chicago’s Cubs Talk Podcast. “With David, he probably wanted a more relaxing first year away from baseball, and to get a chance to spend more time with his family. That just didn’t happen, because he became too popular.

“It’s his own fault, right? ‘Dancing with the Stars’ took a lot of his time – and TV stuff – so I think he’s still very much in that transition period.”

Hyde, a farm director during the early stages of the Wrigley Field rebuild, has been a bench coach for the Florida Marlins (2010-11) and during Rick Renteria’s one-and-done season (2014) before Maddon became a prized free agent.

“Grandpa Rossy” is only 40 and just a year removed from his farewell tour with the World Series champs, which made him an in-demand personality for ESPN and as the author of a memoir that’s in movie development.     

As someone with 15 years of experience as a big-league player, the catching background that allowed him to see the game from many angles and a comfort level in front of the cameras and around reporters, Ross has many of the qualities the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers saw in World Series managers A.J. Hinch and Dave Roberts.

Ross and Hoyer caught up during the World Series in Houston. While Ross worked the event as a broadcaster, Hoyer showed up to represent the organization as Anthony Rizzo received the Roberto Clemente Award.

“He’ll jump in with two feet here soon,” Hoyer said. “I saw him at the World Series, and that’s kind of how he described it. But I think right now – given his desire to spend time with his family and have a little bit of a break after playing – that’s kind of where he is mentally.

“I respect that. When you play that long and travel that much, at some point, you want to take a rest from that.”     

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Yu Darvish, Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa and more

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Yu Darvish, Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa and more

Tuesday on Sports Talk Live, David Kaplan along with Chris Bleck, Rich Campbell and Jordan Bernfield discuss:

            -the posibility of the Cubs signing Yu Darvish and the need for one more pitcher in the rotation

            -Jim Thome looking like he'll be inducted into Cooperstown tomorrow

            -Sammy Sosa's Hall of Fame chances

            -Corey Crawford back to working out as the Hawks losing continues

            -DeMarcus Cousins with a game for the ages, but is his baggage worth signing him?

            -Do the Eagles have a chance of beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl?

Day after reported offer to Yu Darvish, now Brewers have trade offer for Christian Yelich, too?

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USA TODAY

Day after reported offer to Yu Darvish, now Brewers have trade offer for Christian Yelich, too?

The Milwaukee Brewers apparently mean business.

How much that business will pay off in superstar players remains to be seen, of course, but a day after the Cubs' division rivals to the north reportedly made a contract offer to free-agent starting pitcher Yu Darvish, there's a report out there that they also have put together a trade offer for Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

There's been plenty of discussion involving Yelich this offseason as a trade target for just about every team in the game. The Marlins — and more specifically their new regime led by Derek Jeter — sparked speculation that they'll deal just about anyone after trades that shipped Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon out of South Florida. That fueled guesses that Yelich would be next considering how attractive a trade candidate he is, with five seasons of major league success under his belt (including a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger) and a desirable contract that keeps him under team control for another five seasons.

So of course it's no surprise that any team, including the Brewers, would have "strong interest" in acquiring Yelich. The Brewers, however, might be a more attractive trade partner than most considering their rebuilding efforts that have produced a bunch of young talent the Marlins might find appealing. And with the Brew Crew advancing their timeline last season and becoming unexpected competitors with the Cubs in the National League Central, adding a player of Yelich's caliber could change the dynamics in the division.

Social media is home to plenty of Cubs fans who'd like to see Yelich land on the North Side, seeing an opportunity to upgrade in the outfield after less-than-ideal 2017 campaigns from the likes of Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist. But after the Cubs' own wildly successful rebuild and last summer's trade with the White Sox, the minor league cupboard isn't as fully stocked as it used to be, and that could make crafting a return package difficult. That is, if the Cubs were even interested in acquiring Yelich in the first place. They're pretty happy with their already populous outfield.

The team across town has been involved in plenty of online speculation regarding Yelich, too. But while the White Sox have a tremendous amount of minor league talent, they might not be far enough along in their rebuild to part with any of their highly rated young players until they know exactly what they have.

The Brewers, for what it's worth, had six of the top 100 prospects in baseball as of MLB Pipeline's most recent (and soon to change) rankings: the Nos. 13, 59, 81, 82, 86 and 97 guys. Is that enough to fetch Yelich? And is Yelich enough to put the Crew on even footing with the Cubs in 2018 and beyond? And what if Darvish takes the Brewers up on their offer?

All valid questions. But the biggest question involving the Brewers: Who's going to sponsor the sausage race?