Tag: David Ross

MLB Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding David Ross, Allen Craig and More

If you thought the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox were done signing players this offseason just because they respectively landed Jon Lester and Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, think again.

Boston and Chicago are pursuing backup catchers, but they are not the only ones involved in rumors from around the league.

Read on for some of the latest buzz from around baseball as the season approaches.


David Ross

Rob Bradford of WEEI 93.7 passed along an update on David Ross:

“The Red Sox and Cubs evidently aren’t done battling for players this offseason. … According to a major league source, free-agent catcher David Ross was choosing between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres as of early Wednesday night.”

San Diego probably won’t be Ross’ final destination considering the Padres just landed Ryan Hanigan in a three-team trade and Derek Norris in a separate swap. While that doesn’t rule the Padres out completely, they will likely turn elsewhere after acquiring a catcher.

That means the race for Ross may come down to the Cubs and Red Sox, just like the battle for Lester. Ironically, Lester may be the reason he chooses Chicago. The Cubs already have to be considered one of the winners of the offseason with the additions of Lester and new coach Joe Maddon, among others, and adding a catcher familiar with Lester who will likely put up better numbers would make it even better.

Chicago or Boston will certainly not bring Ross in for his bat. He hit .184 last season with a whopping 15 RBI, but to be fair, he only played 50 games because of injury. Any offense from the catching spot is often just a bonus, though. 

Catcher is the most important player on the field outside of the pitcher, considering he is involved in every single pitch. How he manages a game and works with the pitching staff is ultimately more important when it comes to Ross and just about any catcher.


Kyle Kendrick 

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com provided an update on Kyle Kendrick:

The ground-ball rate is certainly a plus for the Colorado Rockies, considering they play at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Regardless of the mile-high air, no ground balls are soaring over the fence for a home run.

It is important for a back-of-the-rotation guy to be an innings-eater, and Kendrick did just that last season by throwing 199 innings last season for the Philadelphia Phillies. He finished with a 10-13 record, 4.61 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

He is still only 30 years old, so he should have a couple of productive seasons still in the tank. Kendrick is not that far removed from a 2011 campaign in which he finished with a 3.22 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

The Rockies should be able to get him for a favorable price and will hope that he can tap into the potential fans saw a couple of years ago.


Allen Craig 

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports noted that Allen Craig could be on the move:

Boston landed Craig in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals but hit a miserable .128 with the Red Sox in 107 at bats. His foot injury was likely a partial explanation for the struggles, but he still only hit .215 on the season.

It certainly wasn’t the Craig fans saw from 2011-13, when he hit .312 and drove in more than 90 runs in two separate seasons.

Craig’s comments when he was traded to the Red Sox are now even more poignant, via Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe: “I was surprised by the trade. But as players, we understand that nothing is ever permanent unless you have a no-trade clause. The fact I was coming to a great organization helped me get past it.” 

The problem for any team that trades for Craig is his back-loaded contract. He is owed $26.5 million over the next three years, which is a huge risk-reward situation. If he returns to the powerful middle-of-the-lineup form that fans saw in St. Louis now that he’s healthy, he would be worth the contract. 

However, if last season was the start of a rapid decline as he ages (he’s 30 now), that is a lot of money to pay for a potential sub-.200 hitter.


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David Ross Is a Great Acquisition for the 2013 Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of a challenging offseason, as they work to improve on a team that went 69-93 in 2012. Although it may be a tiny blip on baseball’s radar, they made an excellent preliminary move earlier today by signing free agent catcher David Ross.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the Red Sox and Ross agreed to a two-year, $6.2 million contract. Rosenthal later indicated on Twitter that Ross is expected to see extended playing time in 2013. This means the team will start to shift away from incumbent catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway, which should be seen as a good thing.

Last season Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway combined to hit a paltry .204 and threw out only 16.3 percent of attempted stolen bases. This type of production is unacceptable, especially given the kind of expectations the Red Sox have as a team every year. While Ross is far from a star he represents a significant upgrade at catcher.

Ross came to the majors as purely a glove man, but has continually improved with his bat during his 11-year MLB career. He had a combined total of 577 at bats while playing with the Atlanta Braves over the past four seasons. He hit .268 during that time, with 24 home runs and 94 RBI, making him an intriguing option for extended playing time in Boston.  

The most welcome aspect of Ross’ game is his defense. He has a career .992 fielding percentage and has been an effective weapon in preventing stolen bases, throwing out 39 percent of runners, which according to BaseballReference places him fifth among all active catchers.

The Red Sox enter 2013 with as many question marks surrounding their pitching staff as any other team in baseball. With a combination of veterans returning from injury and/or struggles (Jon Lester, Andrew Bailey and John Lackey) and young developing arms (Rubby De La Rosa, Felix Dubront and Allen Webster), a confident and experienced catcher is a necessity to coax the best results.

Ross comes to Boston with a wealth of experience in working with young pitchers. He was with Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto in Cincinnati, and helped develop the likes of Tommy Hanson, Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, among others, in Atlanta.

Perhaps some of Kris Medlen’s amazing 2012 season, where he went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA, can be attributed to Ross. In the 13 games where he had Ross as a battery mate last season, Medlen struck out 49 batters in 44.1 innings and allowed a microscopic 0.81 ERA. By comparison, he struck out 71 in 93.2 innings and had a 1.92 ERA when caught by anyone else.

Ross is no stranger to stressful situations or Boston itself. He will be 36 next year and even spent eight games with the Red Sox at the end of the 2008 season after being released by the Reds. The return of his calming influence will be a welcome addition to a team so accustomed to controversy and strife of late.

Nobody will mistake Ross as a star, or even a long-term solution at catcher for the Red Sox. What he will bring is quiet consistency; something that has been recently in short supply in Boston.

Statistics via BaseballReference

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