With a season like the Red Sox have had, one has to wonder why free agents would even be interested in going, or staying, in Boston. Despite that, Cody Ross and James Loney have each confirmed that they are both very interested in returning to Beantown for the 2013 season and potentially beyond. Ross was picked up on a one year contract last offseason and has performed far outside expectations while Loney was picked up in the Adrian Gonzalez trade about a month ago, and has been decent since coming across the country.
Ross’s 1 year/$3 million contract has been the best move that the Red Sox made last offseason. The right fielder has gone .268/.331/.489 with 21 home runs and 76 RBIs in 121 games and 444 at bats. As one might expect, that kind of a season has garnished plenty of interest across major league baseball. MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox are the main teams interested in him, but Ross still says that he would like to stay in Boston. This offseason, Ross projects to get a contract similar to the contract that Josh Willingham signed last offseason– a 3 year/$21 million contract. In Willingham’s contract year in 2011, he batted .246/.332/.477 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs.
Loney has not been quite as good as Ross in his time in Boston, but he’s still been solid manning first base for the past month. In 24 games with the Red Sox, he’s batted .241/.267/.301 and his triple slash line on the season is .252/.295/.336. He’s been a whiz defensively, though, and other than 28 year old rookie Mauro Gomez (who I do like, by the way!), the Red Sox have nobody better. In a weak free agent market, it couldn’t really hurt to pick up Loney on an inexpensive contract.
It’s good that Bobby Valentine’s management style hasn’t brutally influenced the decisions of Ross and Loney and steered them away from Boston. Although the Red Sox probably won’t contend in 2013, it’s always nice to have a few veterans around and Ross and Loney could serve that role with the team. Each has playoff experience and are allegedly good clubhouse guys. All things considered, it’s good that both players still would like to return to Boston after such a topsy turvy year.