There is no worse fate than being “just okay” at something. No matter how long the list of people who cannot match your abilities, ample evidence suggests there are lots of folks who are better. Cody Ross isn’t a bad baseball player, he just isn’t good. Certainly not “great.” He can him some home runs and play some outfield and that isn’t anything to sneeze at. But he isn’t a game-changer and he might not even be an everyday starter on a good team.
Where does that leave the Arizona Diamondbacks? After reportedly agreeing to a three-year contract with Cody Ross, they have more than their share of outfield options. Maybe Cody Ross doesn’t need to start for the Snakes? But at three years (plus an option) and $26 million, you kind of figure he will.
Three years at less than $9 mil per doesn’t seem out of line for a player like Ross. Assuming, of course, we have any kind of handle on the value Cody Ross provides. Take last season, for example. Cody Ross was a decent offensive player on a very bad Red Sox team. He played nearly every day and posted offensive numbers in line with his career marks: .345 wOBA with 22 home runs in 520+ plate appearances.
Ross essentially put up identical numbers in two different seasons with the Marlins – the good years before he was DFA’d midway through the 2010 season, leading to his now-famous contributions to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
As first glance, it is easy to dismiss Ross as a limited player: the difference in his home/road splits and left/right splits was pronounced in 2012, just as they’ve been for the duration of his career. Maybe guys like this (via Bill Baer) don’t offer much value as they only get to apply their specific skills in small percentage of their team’s games.
Yet here we are. The Diamondbacks desired Ross badly enough to lock the 32-year old (as of tomorrow) up for three years with an option for a fourth. They wanted Ross even though they already have a logjam in the outfield. Ross along with Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton, Justin Upton, and Gerardo Parra form the crowded outfield in Phoenix.
Jason Kubel is the most likely player to go, coming off a 32 homer year. Kubel has another year and a club option remaining on his contract, one which seemed inexplicable when the Snakes signed it last year. Ross is older but probably better as Kubel has no place in the outfield and benefited greatly from Chase Field’s cosy dimensions.
If you’re a Diamondbacks fan (lol), your biggest “concern” is this Ross signing looks eerily similar to the Kubel signing a year from now. While Kubel certainly earned his $7.5 million in 2012 and Ross is likely to earn his $8+ million, neither of these players represents the kind of upgrade required to compete with the Giants and Dodgers in the NL West. Welcome to the treadmill, Mr. Towers. Glad to see you’re getting comfortable.
@nickpiecoro Trading CY for a SS because they had too many OF, then trading for another SS 2 months later, then signing another OF. WHEEEEEE
— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) December 22, 2012