The Chicago Cubs come into the week leading up to the 2023 MLB trade deadline with a record just south of .500 and a firm spot in third place in the NL Central. They have a veteran team, so buying at the deadline could behoove them. But they are also a longshot for the postseason and have some expiring contracts, so dipping into sell mode could also make sense.

To David Ross, though, there's only one path forward: focus on winning. The Cubs manager said he wants to manage a winning team and therefore wants the team to retain its top talent, according to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic.

“I want to be the manager of a World Series team, the guys out there on the field want to win a World Series,” Ross said, via The Athletic. “I think that’s what we’re all pushing for. How do we do that? We try to win every single game and every single pitch. That’s what I’m focused on. The more we keep the good players, the closer (we get) to doing that this season.”

The Cubs have taken a win-now approach in free agency with big signings over the past two years like Dansby Swanson, Marcus Stroman, Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki and Jameson Taillon. But Stroman and Bellinger could both be free agents this upcoming offseason. The team has yet to decide what to do with them.

Running the risk of losing them would be brutal for the Cubs, who have looked to replace the World Series-winning core quickly. Stroman, who has a 3.09 ERA this season, enjoys playing for Chicago but has looked to get a contract extension done.

Although the Cubs have one of the easier remaining schedules in MLB by their remaining opponents' record, it's not clear that they will be able to pass the Cincinnati Reds or Milwaukee Brewers in the division race. They are five games back of a Wild Card spot with eight teams reasonably in the race at the moment. But Ross has unwavering faith that his team can make a run.

“I believe there’s always value in belief around the group,” Ross said, via The Athletic. “Whether that comes from the group itself, whether that comes from outside the group. Having confidence and sending the right messages every single day from the coaching staff all the way through the organization of what you believe in — sure, there’s value in that.”