Much was made about who would patrol right field for the Red Sox for the upcoming season. Ryan Kalish was thought to have had the edge for the job, but another surgery has further delayed his hopes of a full-time job in right. Ryan Sweeney was brought in from Oakland when Josh Reddick was sent packing. Darnell McDonald hasn’t shown he deserves the everyday job until possibly this spring, but even then he has to carry over the success he’s had during March. So when the Red Sox inked free-agent Cody Ross to a one-year deal worth $3M, it appeared to be a safe signing with the potential to have some upside to it. If this spring has been any indication then signing Cody Ross could be the steal of the winter.
The 31-year old has bounced around during his 8 year professional career, suiting up for five previous clubs before donning the Red Sox colors. He played everyday in Florida with the Marlins starting in 2008 and managed to put up respectable numbers, hitting around .260 with an average OBP of .320 or so. He had good power numbers for two years hitting 22 and 24 homers in ’08 and ’09. But his big break came in 2010 when the Giants claimed him off waivers and it was in San Francisco that shaped the type of player Ross would become.
During the Giants improbable run in ’10 Ross was a go to bat hitting .350 in the NLCS on route to becoming the series MVP. Overall that postseason he hit .294 with 5 homers and 10 RBI. Needless to say he got hot at the right time of year and picked up a wealth of experience along the way.
Which is what made Ross so attractive to the Red Sox this off season. His laid back, easy going demeanor is known to keep the clubhouse loose, something the Sox desperately need. Compliment that with his ability to produce at the plate during clutch moments and Cody Ross could become a fan favorite.
Much has been made about his swing and how well it will play into the dimensions of Fenway Park, specifically the Green Monster. Similar to when Adrian Gonzalez came to Boston, the fundamentals are similar in that Ross will use the Monster to his advantage. A little wall ball anyone?
Spring training stats typically don’t hold a lot of merit to them, but it is still encouraging to see Ross having an above average spring at the plate. His line of .342/.405/.711/1.115, 4 homers and 11 RBI leads the club in many areas and needless to say he’s been a major offensive catalyst. A welcomed surprise for sure and is encouraging to see that Ross is swinging the bat so well. It’s far better than to have him struggling to hit .200 and not have his timing down.
With so much going for Ross in the past couple of years and with his light hearted personality, if he can hit to his career averages then his $3 million dollar salary will be one bargain that paid off. Anything above his averages will be a bonus and considering he will likely be slotted in the bottom third of the order, that type of production is exceedingly impressive.
The only question will be, why didn’t the Red Sox sign him sooner?