Cody Ross To Boston

After the magic that was the 2010 postseason, the Giants and their fans can be forgiven for disappointment in Cody Ross‘s 2011 performance. Ross only managed 14 home runs and a .405 slugging percentage in 121 games in San Francisco after slugging .686 with five homers in 14 games during the Giants’ run to the 2010 World Series. Everybody knew the clock would eventually strike midnight, however, and in the end the Ross the Giants ended up with was very similar to the Ross the Marlins had no problem giving away for free on a waiver claim: a very average outfielder.

Unsurprisingly, then, the market around Cody Ross collapsed as better options filled rosters throughout the winter. The 31-year-old finally found a home Monday, as Ross and the Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal.

Ross has effectively defined the average hitter over the last two seasons. Between his time with Florida and San Francisco, the righty has posted a .256/.323/.410 slash line, good for both a 100 OPS+ and a 100 wRC+. Although Ross has played his fair share of center field over the course of his career, of late he has been restricted to the corners, starting just 75 games in center field over the last two seasons. He seems competent in the corners, both based on the numbers and the eye test, but that’s not enough to make him worthy of too many starting jobs in right or left field. However, as just one piece of an outfield puzzle, he could make a big difference in Boston.

The Red Sox were supposed to be one of the best offenses ever last season, with many discussing the possibility of a 100-run season. But the right fielders didn’t cooperate — Sox right fielders finished with a league-worst 75 wRC+ out of the right field position as J.D. Drew, Josh Reddick, Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald largely failed to produce. Only McDonald remains in the organization for the 2012 season. Ross joins trade acquisition Ryan Sweeney as candidates for the right field position, and together, they should form a solid platoon, one that should be a definite upgrade over the sad sack that was the 2011 group.

The fit is natural — Sweeney forms the left-handed side of the platoon to Ross’s right-handed side. Sweeney provides good defense and a solid .296/.352/.402 line against right-handed pitchers and Ross packs the pop — .282/.349/.563 — against lefties. The fit is natural, and the Red Sox should highly benefit from the combination, turning two mediocre players into above-average production in right field should everything go according to plan.

At just three million for one year for the perfect platoon partner for arguably their weakest position, the Red Sox come away from this one with a steal. Ross adds power from the right side they desperately needed and completes their outfield. In a division where every win matters, these little moves could pay big dividends come the end of the season. Maybe Cody Ross can be a hero yet again.

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43 Responses to “Cody Ross To Boston”

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  1. walt526 says:

    “a 100-run season”

    Pretty sure you mean 1000-run season.

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  2. shibboleth says:

    Or 100 win season :-P

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  3. Yirmiyahu says:

    The Sox also have Ryan Kalish, who is now the presumptive RFer of the future. He’ll start the season on the DL recovering from shoulder surgery, and then go to Pawtucket until he earns his way onto the Boston roster. Carl Crawford may also start the season on the DL, after a recently-announced surgery.

    He’s really a perfect match for their needs. If Crawford is out, they’ll need him to be an every day player, and he’s good enough to do that. But if Sweeney or Kalish are hitting well, he should be a pure platoon/backup player. Fenway’s right field is one of the most difficult in baseball, and he should be good there. He’s also capable (if below-average) of filling in at CF if he turns into more of a 4th outfielder.

    It was smart of Cherington to wait so long to sign Ross. His asking price was originally something ridiculous like $15M/3. I’d say $3M is a good deal for him.

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  4. doctorogres says:

    And as a pull hitter he has a chance to really abuse the Green Monster.

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  5. Ben Hall says:

    Ross also provides another solid outfielder in the seemingly likely event that Carl Crawford is not ready to start the season.

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    • Joey B says:

      I think that was a key factor. I could live with a platoon of Sweeney and DMac if we got another SP like Oswalt, but if CC is not ready, and the OF became DMac, Ells, and Sweeney every day for a month, that would be a real problem.

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  6. George W Lucas says:

    Miracuously, the Sox pulled off a historic 100 run season.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      When I read that sentence in the article, I was hoping he was referring to a new saber stat I hadn’t; like “100 runs….above the next best team” or something.

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  7. GOB says:

    This makes Ned Colleti giving Juan Rivera 4.5 million dollars look even worse

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  8. Slartibartfast says:

    “The Red Sox were supposed to be one of the best offenses ever last season”

    I’d wager 116 wRC+ is in the top 20 offense performances of all time.

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    • futant462 says:

      #22 since 1900. Not to far off.

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      • Slartibartfast says:

        Cool, thanks. Was about to say “Wish I had that kind of information at my fingertips…” then I figured it out on the Teams page!

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    • Eric says:

      #20 on the button if you only go back to 1920. Good wager.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      That 116 wRC+ is tied for 32nd all time. But since 1933, they are tied for 13th. And it’s the Sox’ 2nd highest all time.

      It’s better than the 1936 Yankees, who scored 1065 runs and hit .300/.381/.483/.864. And better than the 1999 Indians, who scored 1009 runs and hit .289/.373/.467/.840.

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  9. Colin says:

    Why is nobody talking about Prince Fielder yet????

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  10. everdiso says:

    “the Red Sox come away from this one with a steal”


    this is Cody Ross we’re talking about, right?

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  11. daunderpar says:

    is the fit natural?

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  12. Kampfer says:

    Cody Ross and Boston are a natural fit. Right-handed pull hitter who plays good corner OF defense on a 3 mil deal… It may ends up one of the 5 best deals in this off-season.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      Jesus Christ based on what? If I convince a 4 year old to give me a quarter in exchange for a penny did I make a better deal than someone who invested 1,000 dollars and made 10,000? Yea, I guess in terms of, I made 25x my investment and they only made 10x. However, my deal was insignificant and didn’t really add much overall value and frankly, I shouldn’t have to barter with a 4 year old and I shouldn’t have to focus on getting quarters.

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    • Greg K says:

      I’m very confused as to why this deal was made because Darnell McDonald also hits left handed pitching well (114 wRC+). Sure, that’s not quite as good as Ross, but its still good for a platoon. Was it really worth it to upgrade part of the right field platoon and in the process give up a steady starting shortstop? I’m not buying this deal from that standpoint.

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  13. Antonio Bananas says:


    It’s not a steal just because that’s what the market pays free agents. You should be able to find guys like him in your farm system. With a 160M payroll, anytime you have to sign a guy like this, it’s not a steal. It’s embarrassing.

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    • Robbie G. says:

      Boy, do I agree with you. Every organization should have a player of Cody Ross’ caliber in its farm system. Which is why I can’t agree that paying $3 mil for his projected production is a good deal. You should be able to get that production from a AAAA-caliber player in your farm system for less than $1 mil. That’s what a farm system is for!

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    • Ari Collins says:

      How many guys have fresh-out-of-the-farm-system 4th outfielders, exactly? And how many project to be better than Ross?

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      • juan pierres mustache says:

        and how many do the red sox have right now? because it really doesn’t matter what they should have in their system, it matters what they do have. what they do have is several injured OFs and a dearth of ML-ready OFs in their farm system, so they went out and got a mediocre guy on a one year deal.

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  14. Joel says:

    An average outfielder getting average money for his position. I wouldn’t call it a bad deal, but it wasn’t a steal. A good move for the Red Sox, though, who really needed some depth in the OF.

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    • Joe says:

      Andruw Jones for 2mil is a steal….. Cody Ross for 3 mil is a short term stopgap.

      He put up 0.9 WAR in nearly a full year last year (in a down year); as a platoon player his rates will improve some but his PA’s should be cut in half. He’s maybe a 2WAR player playing full time? Part time, he’s what? 1 WAR?

      Not sure how this qualifies as a steal (other than it’s the Boston front office, thus it has to be a good move). Good signing but Fangraphs needs to stop falling over themselves to laud every move Boston’s front office makes.

      If Sabean or Amaro, jr does this signing does it get labeled as a “steal”?

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  15. Bica says:

    Um, people have been blasting the Red Sox off-season moves. Fangraphs hardly loves the Red Sox new front office.
    However, a decent right handed 3rd/4th OF was a gaping hole on the team last year. Nicely filled.

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    • Ari Collins says:

      The people here who think FG just blindly loves Red Sox moves are a) not paying attention to FG’s coverage of Boston’s moves so far, and b) not paying attention to FG’s even-handed coverage of everything ever.

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  16. Mike says:

    Wow Fangraphs. Are all the writers here trying to angle for a job with the Red Sox front office?

    Some objectivity please? It’s incredible how much the site applauds their mediocre moves. They’ve shuffled young, cheap depth at SS and OF for young, cheap RPs, the most fungible and inconsistent asset in baseball. I mean I’d give them maybe a C+ for those moves. All of those assets would have been better utilized acquiring a SP and getting Madson on the cheap for the $8.5M he signed for.

    If my Indians received half the coverage that the Sox did… I bet most people on the site don’t even know who Chris Antonetti is, despite being a GM a year longer than Ben Cherington.

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  17. Mr Punch says:

    Not a steal – but I wonder if the Sox still believe that some players break out at age 31. BTW, I’ll bet the 2011 Sox offense was the best ever with zero contribution from both corner outfield spots. That guy in LF is just another Fausto Carmona impersonator.

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  18. Headhunter says:

    $3M for a platoon player? Not a steal

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  19. Neuter Your Dogma says:

    Nice pickup for a small market team with limited resources.

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  20. Edgar Renteria says:

    I’d be a “steal” to solve all your SS problems too! Punto? Please!
    But I only got $2.1 million, I’m firing my agent!

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  21. Pat the Bat says:

    How did I miss out on this? I can pull the ball!

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