Ross is coming off an atrocious season, in which the Rangers experimented with using Ross from the rotation with very little success. In 12 starts, Ross posted a 5.70 ERA before transitioning back to the bullpen, where he continued to struggle to the tune of a 7.85 ERA in 15 appearances.
Before last season, however, Ross was a very reliable left-handed reliever for the Rangers. He broke out with a 2.22 ERA in 58 relief appearances as a rookie in 2012 and, while his ERA jumped up to 3.05 in 2013, his peripherals were actually better as his K/9 rose from 6.5 to 8.4 and his BB/9 dipped from 3.2 to 2.7. In addition to his overall success, Ross has had success against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, even experiencing some reverse splits.
While Ross was actually worse as a reliever than he was as a starter last season, that likely has more to do with being stretched out to start than it does with any longterm concerns. It’s reasonable to expect the 25 year old Ross to return to form next season with an effort similar to his first two major league seasons.
Going from Boston to Texas will be the once highly-regarded Anthony Ranaudo. Taken as a first-round pick out of LSU in 2010, Ranaudo has spent longer than expected in the minor leagues. He was one of the more highly-touted youngsters in the system from 2010 to early 2012; however, a season-ending injury early in 2012 severely lessened his prospect stock. Ranaudo did rebound with solid minor league efforts in both 2013 and 2014, but that success did not translate to the majors in a seven-start stint in Boston last season as Ranaudo posted a 4.81 ERA with ERA predictors such as FIP (6.89) suggesting he was even worse.
Ranaudo is still young and may turn it around, but Ross is actually only 77 days older than him despite having three additional years of service time. Plus, the Red Sox have a number of starting pitching prospects rated significantly higher than Ranaudo, while Ross will immediately take on the role of the top lefty in the bullpen. Ranaudo may appear to be a high price for a reliever coming off a shaky season, but all things considered, it’s likely a wise move for the Red Sox.