Cody Ross must be pretty pleased with the spiffy baseball card numbers he put up last season, because they’ve earned him a lucrative contract. Ross and the Diamondbacks have come to terms on a three-year deal that will pay him $26 million. The contract also has a club option for a fourth season which can either be picked up or turned down in favor of a $1 million buyout. Either way, that’s a whole lot of Cody Ross Arizona fans are getting ready to see.
Ross hit .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs in 528 PA for the Red Sox in 2012 and posted a FanGraphs WAR total of 2.4, the second-highest mark of his career so far. Ross does obviously have some power as his career .460 slugging percentage would suggest, but there are larger issues that overshadow that virtues. The most prominent of these issues is that Ross really doesn’t handle right-handers well. Over the course of his career, Ross has punished lefties to the tune of a .284/.353/.575 line, while righties have mostly had their way with him (he has a .253/.312/.415 line against his same-handed brethren). Considering the majority of Major League pitchers throw with their right hand, this could be a problem.
Ross is a fine fourth outfielder to have around, as he sure can mash lefties and serve as a passable defender. The problem here is that the Diamondbacks are paying him to be a starter, and they’re paying him for at least three seasons. Having turned 32 today (happy birthday, Cody; sorry I’m being such an asshole about how you’re not very good at baseball), it isn’t particularly likely that Ross’ best seasons still lie ahead. The Diamondbacks acted as if they were signing a nice mid-tier outfield option, but they’re just paying a bench option like one instead.