By now the blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers has been examined, dug up and re-examined, coughed up and cross examined and finally we start to move on. It’s clear that Sox management are throwing in the towel on this season and are already scoping out plans on how to field the most competitive club possible in 2013. Huge gobs of money are suddenly available to spend on players that will make an immediate impact and Ben Cherington and his posse need to look no further than two internal candidates in David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Two players who could reap the financial benefit of the trade that had the baseball world standing on it’s ear.
Both players will be free-agents at the end of this season and both have set themselves up to cash in financially on the open market, if they get that far. Ross and Big Papi are having a resurgence at the plate and will have teams foaming at the mouth at the thought of the chance to sign them. Cherington can prevent a bidding war if he takes care of business sooner rather than later and extend both players for the multi-year deals they seek and deserve.
Ross is likely more attractive than Ortiz for two simple reasons: the first is he can play the outfield where as Papi is limited to DH, with some first base mixed in. The second is Ross will sign for less money than Papi which is granted due to the slight spread in offensive numbers between the two. We’ve already heard that multiple teams were interested in Ross at the trading deadline for his right-handed bat that has plenty of pop, something that is less available on the market.
Given Ross has never hit more than 24 home runs in his career and no more than 90 RBI, Ortiz will likely receive a greater payday than the former NLCS MVP. Big Papi is surely to seek at least a 2-year deal worth around $15 million per year. The 36-year old may have hurt his chances of landing that third year with his recent bout of a strain to his Achilles tendon, an injury that could claim the remainder of his year.
All that aside, the Red Sox need to resign Big Papi and if it means going to the proposed 2-year deal then it’s worth considering. This is a team that just unloaded Adrian Gonzalez who is a sure thing to hit at least .300 every year and annually threaten the 100 RBI plateau. In short, the Red Sox will need run production from the middle of their lineup and David Ortiz is the perfect candidate to pull that weight.
Cody Ross on the other hand is said to be in line to receive a deal similar to that of Josh Willingham, 3-years at $27 million. This is a steal of a deal and Cherington needs to start the negotiations now.
We’ve heard that Ross likes playing in Boston and wants to return for next season and beyond. The Red Sox have also made it known that the feelings are mutual although negotiations have yet to begin.
Currently this season, Ross is producing above his career averages with a slash line of .278/.342/.520/.862. He could set a career high in home runs with him sitting at 19 and his current 64 RBI are his third highest in his career. With 34 games remaining he could easily surpass his second highest total of 73.
His natural uppercut swing is tailor made for Fenway Park and it’s been a while since the Red Sox have seen a true, pull hitter who bats from the right side.
His character is infectious, making him an instant hit in the clubhouse and we all know what an improvement the Red Sox clubhouse needs. What a better way to start than by locking up a guy who is said to be enjoyed by everyone. Talk about setting the tone.
The defensive side of Cody Ross is less than stellar and it doesn’t help matters that he’s been thrown into right field at Fenway Park where some of the weirdest and quirkiest bounces and ricochets can take place. Granted he has looked like a fish out of water, flopping around after missing a fly ball by attempting to dive at it, Ross does hold his own in the outfield. In this situation, his offensive prowess far outweigh his defensive blunders making him a must have as the Red Sox move on from this abysmal year.
So when the free-agent period begins and the everyone is chasing the big fish in Josh Hamilton, the Red Sox can take care of business ahead of time by locking up two of their own in David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Then, fill in the holes with other players that won’t cost an arm and a leg to sign, but rather who will adjust to this new regime in Boston while producing at the plate. Afterall, isn’t that what the Carmine is for?