Tag: Tyson Ross

Tyson Ross to Rangers: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Looking to get a fresh start on his career, starting pitcher Tyson Ross has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Texas Rangers

MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reported the two sides agreed to a one-year deal. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, Ross’ contract pays out $6 million guaranteed. However, Ross can earn more through bonuses. 

Ross spent the previous four seasons with the San Diego Padres before the team decided to non-tender him in December, making him a free agent for the first time in his career.  

Discussing the decision not to give Ross a contract for 2017, Padres general manager A.J. Preller only heaped praise on the right-hander.

“We’ve seen him the last few years; he’s been one of the better pitchers in the league,” said Preller, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. “He’s got a lot of talent. He’s a guy that works very hard. He’s a leader by example.”

Coming into 2016, there was no chance the Padres would give Ross a chance to walk away unless it was because they traded him. He was an excellent starting pitcher from 2013 to 2015, taking full advantage of Petco Park to become the ace in San Diego. 

Things unraveled for Ross in 2016. The former All-Star only made one start, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in 5.1 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, due to shoulder problems that never went away and led to him having surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in October. 

Padres manager Andy Green told reporters that after Ross has the procedure, the recovery time is typically between four and six months, which puts his status for Opening Day in 2017 up in the air. 

However, Texas is not afraid to bet on Ross’ return. He turns 30 on April 22 and is only one year removed from posting a 3.26 ERA in 196 innings, so taking a chance on a short-term deal without a lot of guaranteed money makes this worth the risk. 

This has been a slow offseason for the defending American League West champions, other than re-signing Carlos Gomez. They have seen the Houston Astros go on a spending spree to add Carlos Beltran and Josh Reddick and trade for Brian McCann. 

At this point, Ross doesn’t put the Rangers back in the driver’s seat for the division title. He does help with their lack of depth in the starting rotation behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, with the potential for more if he returns to full health and his 2014-15 form comes with it. 

The Rangers’ lack of activity this offseason has been surprising since ownership hasn’t been shy about spending. Their payroll has increased each of the previous six seasons, going from $64 million in 2010 to $158.9 million in 2016, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts

That spending has gotten the Rangers in trouble lately, with players like Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus struggling, and they have a number of key free agents to worry about after 2017, including Darvish. 

Under that lens, the Rangers’ investment in Ross makes perfect sense. He’s in a situation that will allow him to compete for a playoff spot and rebuild his value in hopes of striking a long-term deal next winter. 

The Rangers get another starting pitcher they can add to their mix while retaining the option to use him in relief if his arm doesn’t hold up under the rigors of starting.

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Tyson Ross: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent SP

Starting pitcher Tyson Ross is one of the marquee free agents remaining on the market, and the race for his services is heating up.

Continue for updates.

Nationals Reportedly on Outside of Ross Market

Thursday, Jan. 5

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Washington Nationals want Ross but are a “long shot.”

Cubs and Rangers Considered ‘Favorites’ to Land Ross

Wednesday, Jan. 4

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports deemed the defending World Series champions and the Texas Rangers the “favorites” after meeting with the right-hander, and TR Sullivan of MLB.com said the “Rangers really like Tyson Ross and are being aggressive in trying to get a deal done, sources say.”

Sullivan noted that Ross started Opening Day for the San Diego Padres but didn’t pitch again during the 2016 season because of shoulder inflammation. He then had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, which led to the Padres’ decision to opt against tendering a contract for him.

R.J. Anderson of CBSSports.com said Texas’ starting staff “remains messy behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels” even though it signed Andrew Cashner this offseason. Anderson suggested Ross could be a third starter for the Rangers if he is healthy again in 2017.

As for the Cubs, Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com wrote in November that the team announced it declined the $12 million option on Jason Hammel’s contract for the 2017 season. While the Cubs boast arguably the best top four of any starting rotation in baseball with Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey, there are questions about who will replace Hammel as the fifth man.

Mike Montgomery is one option, especially since he has starting experience. However, moving him to the rotation would take away a valuable southpaw from the bullpen who notched the save in Chicago’s dramatic Game 7 victory in the World Series.

There are clear questions about Ross’ health for the Cubs, Rangers or whichever team ultimately signs him. Still, he is just 29 years old and has proved in the past he can be an ace-like asset on the mound. He appeared in more than 30 games in three straight seasons before 2016 and posted head-turning ERA numbers in his three full years in a Padres uniform:

Signing Ross would be something of a low-risk, high-reward play for the Cubs.

He would be yet another shutdown pitcher if he returned to form, which would make the blossoming powerhouse even more formidable compared to the rest of the National League Central. If the health problems did re-emerge, Chicago still has four high-quality starters and can turn to Montgomery to fill the fifth spot.

There is more risk involved for Texas based on the sheer need for starting pitching, but the reward is also enticing. It is no wonder the team met with him as spring training approaches.

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Fact or Fiction on All of Week 8’s Hottest MLB Free-Agency, Trade Rumors

Normally, the week before Christmas is a busy time in baseball, with teams looking to finish up deals with free agents and complete trades before the game goes on an unofficial hiatus until we ring in the new year.

That hasn’t been the case in 2016, leaving us with a rumor mill that’s bursting at the seams with speculation about the immediate futures of some big names. 

Will two of those big names wind up with teams in smaller markets, moves that would obliterate the notion that small-market clubs can’t contend with the “big boys” in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York? Has an injury limited the market for one of the better pitchers left unsigned?

We’ll hit on all that and more in this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction.

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Tyson Ross Is Fascinating New Possibility on Dismal MLB Free-Agent Market

Under normal circumstances, a pitcher coming off a major shoulder procedure who posted an 11.81 ERA in extremely limited action the previous season wouldn’t be a winter head-turner.

These aren’t normal circumstances.

The free-agent shelves are bare, especially in the starting pitcher department. Marquee trade options may require ludicrous expenditures of young talent. 

Enter Tyson Ross. Flawed as he is, he’s a name worth following.

On Friday, the San Diego Padres didn’t tender Ross a contract, making the 29-year-old right-hander a free agent.

Ross underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October. The recovery time is usually between four and six months, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, which means Ross could be available at the start of the 2017 season if not before.

It’s always a gamble to sink dollars into a player recovering from a debilitating injury, especially a pitcher. Not so long ago, however, Ross was a sizzling hot commodity.

In 2014, he posted a 2.81 ERA with 195 strikeouts in 195.2 innings and made the All-Star team. In 2015, he fanned 212 in 196 innings with a 3.26 ERA.

His name floated through the trade-rumor mill last winter, but the Pads had some justifiably sky-high demands, as CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder noted:

It’s easy to conjure Javier Baez’s breakout performance in the 2016 postseason and scoff at the notion. It shows, however, how high Ross’ stock was soaring.

Coughing up seven earned runs in his only 2016 start—on Opening Day, no lessand eventually going under the knife knocked Ross down several dozen pegs. 

But in a dismal class headlined by 36-year-old Rich Hill followed by a mishmash of middling options such as Jason Hammel, Ivan Nova and Doug Fister, Ross sparkles with high-reward possibility. 

There are high-profile trade candidates such as the Chicago White Sox‘s Chris Sale and Detroit Tigers‘ Justin Verlander, but they’ll cost a trove of prospects.

Ross, on the other hand, won’t take minor league chips and could be had on a shorter-term, incentive-laden deal. 

Other pitchers have returned successfully from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Jaime Garcia underwent the procedure in 2014 and posted a 2.43 ERA the following season for the St. Louis Cardinals

It’s not all sunshine and roses. It’s an uncommon surgery, and the results are often less than stellar, as Nick Lampe of Beyond the Box Score starkly spelled out.

Still, Ross will surely draw attention from a number of clubs, including—but by no means limited to—the Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees and Baltimore OriolesPhil Rogers of MLB.com said Ross has been “a favorite” of the Chicago Cubs front office for some time.

Even the Friars aren’t slamming the door.

“The interest is there for us,” San Diego general manager A.J. Preller said after the Padres non-tendered Ross, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We know what kind of competitor he is, what kind of worker he is.” 

The Pads, CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder noted, would likely have had to pay Ross upward of $10 million in arbitration, so any reunion would require a significant cut from that high-water mark. 

More likely, Ross will don a different uniform and become a classic reclamation project.

He’s not a sure thing. He might even be a long shot. He’s a possible diamond in the rubble, however, the type of player we could be looking back on in nine or 10 months while talking about bargains and rebirths. 

The projection systems are bullish, with Steamer foretelling a 3.41 ERA in 181 innings. That’s the stuff of a solid mid-rotation starter.

What if Ross could regain his 2014-15 mojo, though? What if he could transform back into the All-Star who warranted Javy Baez rumors?

Is that probable? No. Possible? You bet.

If you can’t dream in early December, when can you?

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Tyson Ross Non-Tendered by Padres: Latest Details and Reaction

The San Diego Padres have made this year’s crop of free-agent pitchers more intriguing by opting not to give right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross a contract for 2017. 

Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Padres did not tender Ross a contract, and he immediately becomes a free agent. 

Ross only appeared in one game last season, giving up seven earned runs in 5.1 innings before his right shoulder flared up and caused him to miss the rest of the year with inflammation. 

In October, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, Ross opted to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. It’s the same procedure New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey had in July that ended his 2016 season prematurely. 

Cassavell noted Ross’ recovery timetable is four to six months, which would put him on track to return as soon as February or as late as mid-April. 

Prior to 2016, Ross was one of the best pitchers in the National League the previous three seasons. He posted a 3.07 ERA with 526 strikeouts and 437 hits allowed in 516.2 innings and made a total of 64 starts in 2013-15. 

Per FanGraphs, Ross ranked ninth among all NL starters who had at least 500 innings pitched from 2013-15 with 9.6 wins above replacement. 

Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com noted how starkly things changed for Ross and the Padres from 2015 to the point where the former All-Star was not tendered a contract:

This year’s crop of free-agent pitchers is horrendous, with 36-year-old Rich Hill being the top available arm because he can miss bats, despite having no history of staying healthy. 

Ross’ recent track record certainly makes him a cautionary tale for whatever team wants to take a chance on him, but if he returns to anything close to his previous skill level, the 29-year-old will end up being one of the biggest bargains for anyone in search of a starting pitcher. 

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Tyson Ross Injury: Updates on Padres SP’s Recovery from Neck Surgery

San Diego Padres manager Andy Green said starting pitcher Tyson Ross underwent surgery on Thursday to address symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

He could be ready for spring training.

Continue for updates.

Ross’ Surgery Successful

Thursday, Oct. 13 

The Padres announced Ross underwent successful thoracic outlet surgery on Thursday, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. 

Latest on Ross’ Recovery Time

Wednesday, Oct. 12

Lin noted the surgery typically brings a recovery time of four to six months, hence the possibility that Ross will return by spring training.

Ross made just one start in the 2016 season and allowed seven earned runs in 5.1 innings of work. According to Lin, he was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation shortly thereafter and never made it back to the mound the rest of the year.

He could have been back earlier, but he twisted his ankle while doing exercises in a hotel room in July before an extended bullpen session as he continued his rehab, per Lin

This was a pitcher who was expected to be the ace of a pitching staff that once featured Drew Pomeranz and veteran James Shields. But with his inability to stay on the field and Shields and Pomeranz being dealt to the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox, respectively, the Padres’ starting rotation slumped to one of the worst groups in baseball. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Tyson Ross Injury: Updates on Padres Pitcher’s Shoulder and Return

The San Diego Padres placed starting pitcher Tyson Ross on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, per Nick Groke of the Denver Post.

Continue for updates.

Ross Dealing with Right-Shoulder Inflammation

Saturday, April 9 

The Padres announced Ross’ DL stint is retroactive to April 5. Ross said he expects to be out the minimum 15 days, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com.

Ross was one of the Padres’ few bright spots in a disappointing 2015 campaign. General manager A.J. Preller bet big on building a contender as quickly as possible, and it backfired in a big way.

Some wondered if Preller would look to cash in on the right-hander. Jon Heyman reported for CBSSports.com that a number of teams were interested in Ross ahead of the 2015 trade deadline.

The 28-year-old finished with a 10-12 record and a 3.26 ERA. On its own, neither stat is all that impressive; however, Ross was at the mercy of the defense around him, which was one of the worst in the league. According to FanGraphs, he had a 2.98 FIP and 3.15 xFIP, which better illustrate his performance.

Control was one area of concern for the 2014 All-Star. His 3.86 walks per nine innings were the second-highest among qualified starters behind Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, per FanGraphs.

Even if Ross cuts down on the walks in 2016, it’s unlikely to make a major difference on the Padres as a whole. San Diego will have a hard time competing in a loaded—at least with regard to the top teams—National League West.

It will be important for the team to keep Ross healthy, though, if it plans on moving him at any point this season. He has been pretty durable over the last three years, making 30-plus starts each season. Potential suitors might shy away, however, if they feel he’s suffering from a lingering issue.

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Tyson Ross or Carlos Carrasco Trade Would Make Cubs a Flawless Superteam

We’re through the looking glass, people. We can tell by the way we’re gawking in awe at the Chicago Cubs, a team that hasn’t won a World Series since Ford was introducing the Model T.

And, heck, we could be gawking in even more awe at the Cubs in the near future. They’re already great, but apparently they want to be flawless.

This winter has already seen the Cubs take a roster that produced 97 wins in 2015 and augment it with Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, John Lackey and a couple of bullpen additions. Cue Sahadev Sharma of Baseball Prospectus to sum it up: “It’s rare that a team has a perfect offseason, but what the Cubs have done…is as close as one can get.”

But wait! There could be more. As Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported after the Heyward signing, the Cubs may not be satisfied with their starting rotation just yet:

About this, there are two things everyone should understand.

First, the Cubs are eyeing some sensible targets.

The Padres seem to be in full sell mode, and Ross is their top trade chip. Things are a little different in Cleveland, where the Indians may have no interest in trading Salazar, a young, talented starter with five years of club control left. But they do need help on offense, and dealing Carrasco may be their best hope of getting it. He’s not as young or controllable as Salazar, but he is equally talented and may be in even more demand than Salazar.

Second, all this being said, the Cubs don’t actually need Ross or Carrasco.

Seriously, though. They don’t.

If we were to hop in a DeLorean and go back to when the Cubs got bounced from the National League Championship Series by the New York Mets, we’d find club boss Theo Epstein with a relatively short shopping list for the offseason.

“We want to continue to add impact pitching, we want to continue to add starting-pitching depth at the big league level,” Epstein said, per Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.

This mission would appear to be accomplished.

In Lackey, the Cubs added a veteran starter who’s coming off a 2.77 ERA over 218 innings in 2015. He’s only the Cubs’ No. 3 pitcher behind aces Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester and is followed by two solid starters in Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel. Behind them is a depth chart that includes swingman extraordinaire Adam Warren and former All-Stars Trevor Cahill and Travis Wood.

So, what we’ve seen is a club that was already elite taking care of its one big need. It’s no surprise to see Mike Petriello of MLB.com point out that the Cubs project to produce more wins above replacement than any other team in 2016:

Elsewhere, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs points out that much of Chicago’s projected WAR is coming from its starting rotation. As of now, only the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ rotation is pegged for more WAR in 2016.

Now, WAR projections definitely aren’t gospel. They’ve been known to go awry, and it’s not impossible to imagine that happening with Chicago’s rotation. Arrieta may be coming off a Cy Young season, but it was one that required a hell of a workload. Lester (31) and Lackey (37) are older pitchers. Hendricks and Hammel are what they are: back-end starters.

So, though another starter isn’t entirely necessary for the Cubs, it’s not a bad idea either. Especially if said extra starter is Ross or Carrasco.

Ross is really good. The 28-year-old right-hander owns a 3.03 ERA across 391.2 innings over the last two seasons. Walks are his Achilles’ heel, but those can be easily downplayed when one racks up as many strikeouts and ground balls as he does. Courtesy of one of the nastiest sinker/slider combinations in the business, Ross is tied for 13th in strikeout percentage and ranks second in ground-ball percentage since 2014. 

Carrasco is also really good. The 28-year-old right-hander owns a 2.99 ERA over 252.2 innings in 40 starts since moving into Cleveland’s rotation at the end of 2014. Using a hard fastball, an electric slider and a vanishing changeup, Carrasco has racked up more strikeouts than all but eight other pitchers since he became a starter, per Baseball Savant.

Of course, success on one team doesn’t necessarily lead to success on another team. But for either Ross or Carrasco, that shouldn’t be a concern with the Cubs.

In San Diego, Ross has succeeded as a ground ball-oriented pitcher despite not having a great infield defense behind him. With Kris Bryant at third, Addison Russell at short, Zobrist at second and Anthony Rizzo at first, the Cubs have one of the best infield defenses in baseball.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Carrasco has succeeded as a strikeout-oriented pitcher despite not having a great strike-framer catching his pitches. In Miguel Montero, the Cubs have a catcher whom Baseball Prospectus rated as a top-five framer in 2015. 

Point being: A move to Chicago could well result in either Ross or Carrasco getting even better than he already is. And with either of them aboard, the Cubs rotation could boast as many as four No. 1 starters in the next couple of years. 

That’s a scary thought for the competition in its own right. But when placed in context of what else the Cubs are working with, it becomes even scarier.

We’ve already discussed how loaded the Cubs are, as we noted last week that signing Heyward to a $184 million contract seemingly completed the ensemble, particularly where the Cubs lineup was concerned.

Heyward and Zobrist are joining a lineup that rode a power uprising to a .754 OPS in the second half of 2015. All the Cubs offense was really missing was at least one table-setter who could handle patience and contact. In Heyward and Zobrist, Chicago’s lineup now has two of those. In addition, Heyward figures to give the Cubs the good center field defense they were missing in 2015.

Elsewhere, the Cubs are returning the key members of a bullpen that, if you ask FanGraphs, actually produced as much WAR as the Kansas City Royals‘ bullpen in 2015. Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm give Chicago’s bullpen three power arms, and Warren, Cahill and Wood give it depth.

With all this being the case, the only potential downside of an upgrade to the Cubs’ already awesome rotation with Ross or Carrasco is that they would have to take a part or two out of the roster they already have. Would they have to part with any major leaguers they would miss?

Well, it seems certain that acquiring Ross or Carrasco would require the Cubs to surrender MLB-caliber talent. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has reported that the Padres want a young, controllable shortstop. In Cleveland, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer and others have noted the Tribe’s need for outfield help.

It’s not hard to narrow down which players would interest San Diego and Cleveland. The Padres would probably want a package built around Javier Baez. The Indians would probably want one built around Jorge Soler. Which is a complication, of course, as both figure into the Cubs’ plans going forward.

But could the Cubs survive without either of them? Probably, yeah.

It wasn’t long ago that Baez was viewed as an elite prospect, but these days he’s being groomed as more of a utility player. Soler was also an elite prospect not long ago, but his rough 2015 season raises the question of whether the Cubs are better off using Chris Coghlan as a regular in right field. 

So, yes, the Cubs probably could survive just fine if they had to give up Baez or Soler. And considering they have a farm system that Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked No. 4 in baseball as recently as mid-August, there’s always a chance the Cubs could deflect talks to younger players instead.

Granted, because the Cubs don’t actually need Ross or Carrasco, they could just back off and say, “Thanks, but we’re good.” Which would be true. They’re plenty good. More than good enough to win the World Series in 2016, in fact.

But it won’t be surprising if the Cubs actually go through with acquiring Ross or Carrasco. That would require determining that “more than good enough” isn’t actually good enough. After 107 years of waiting for a World Series title, the Cubs may darn well be willing to go that far.

If they do, the Cubs will have taken an excellent team and made it virtually flawless. Folks on the North Side will start talking about printing World Series tickets not in jest but in all seriousness.

Through the looking glass, indeed.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Tyson Ross Is the Overlooked Ace of the 2015-16 MLB Offseason

Good morning/afternoon/evening, MLB offseason shoppers. While you’re browsing the ace sectionogling a Zack Greinke, drooling over a David Price, maybe checking the sticker on a Stephen Strasburgcan we interest you in something else?

Like, say, a 28-year-old right-hander who racked up 212 strikeouts in 196 innings with a 3.26 ERA last season and is under team control through 2017?

What’s that? Your interest is piqued? Well, step right up and take a gander at Tyson Ross.

The San Diego Padres stud hasn’t received the buzz that’s swirled around the big free-agent aces, such as Price, Greinke and Johnny Cueto, or the prime (potential) trade targets, including Strasburg and the New York Mets‘ Matt Harvey.

Hype is hard to quantify, of course. And Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer did slot Ross at No. 19 on his list of the winter’s top 100 free agents and trade targets. But when you scan that collection of coveted arms again, doesn’t Ross feel like the guy you’ve heard the least about?

Still, he’s got the stuff and recent track record to belong in that elite group. And the Friars are indeed “shopping” him, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

It’d take a sparkling package of prospects, possibly even sparklier than the one the Boston Red Sox sent to San Diego to acquire closer Craig Kimbrel. But it’d be worth it.

Ross debuted with the Oakland A’s in 2010 and has spent three seasons with the Padres, so his profile isn’t as high as it would have been had he been doing his thing in New York, Boston or even up the freeway in Los Angeles.

But make no mistake: This is one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, and he’s ripe for the picking.

After flashing promise, Ross truly broke out in 2014, posting a 2.81 ERA with 195 strikeouts in 195.2 innings and making his first All-Star team.

Last season, he battled command issues and coughed up an MLB-leading 84 walks. But he also averaged an eye-opening, career-best 9.73 strikeouts per nine innings. And if you like WAR, his mark of 4.4 was likewise a career high, per FanGraphs.

Ross is, simply put, the kind of big, bat-missing talent any general manager with a hole near the top of his rotation would covet.

Before the Kimbrel deal was consummated, a Ross trade was “discussed heavily” between the Red Sox and Padres, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. Even now, Ross-to-Beantown isn’t an impossibility, as Boston has plenty of trade chips left in its enviably deep farm system.

The Chicago Cubs tried to land Ross at the 2015 trade deadline, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported at the time, and have the pieces to pursue him now.

Really, all of the clubs that are reported to be in on Greinke and Price figure to at least inquire about Ross. That’s a list that includes, but is by no means limited to, the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants.

And unlike the aforementioned Strasburg and Harvey, a Ross trade feels like more than wild hot-stove speculation.

Here’s an interesting wrinkle: As Rosenthal noted, the Pads are also shopping outfielder Matt Kemp, who played 154 games last year and drove in 100 runs but has been plagued by injuries and is owed gobs of cash through 2019.

It’s possible San Diego would consider a slightly less robust return for Ross if another club was willing to eat Kemp’s onerous contract as well.

Really, though, all of this hinges on whether the Kimbrel-to-Boston trade, along with the deal that sent setup man Joaquin Benoit to the Seattle Mariners, is the start of an all-out fire sale. 

It might not be, as Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune outlined:

That Ross trade talk? Know that a contract extension is part of the discussion in the front office, as is listening when teams call on a 28-year-old right-hander with two more years of control.

Because, of course, they’re gonna call.

So Padres general manager A.J. Preller is weighing his options. After going all-in last winter and watching the Friars finish a disappointing fourth in the National League West, Preller has to decide if he wants to tinker, reload or blow it all up and start over.

“We have some flexibility financially looking at the free-agent market,” Preller told Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller after the Kimbrel trade. “We’re looking to be a championship organization, and this gives us a chance to move some money around and invest in different areas, and we’re looking forward to doing that.”

That’s a cagey, politician’s non-answer and leaves all doors open. Really, it might behoove Preller to hang on to Ross until next winter, when he will still have a year left before free agency and the pool of available arms will be much shallower. 

But if Preller does press the rebuild button now, Ross will rocket to the top of a lot of GMs‘ wish lists. 

The shelves may be sagging with aces, but this is one prize MLB’s winter shoppers can’t afford to overlook.


All statistics and contract information current as of Nov. 19 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Rich Harden Hurt: Oakland Athletics’ 5th Starter Competition Down to 2 Already?

It feels like I’m having a flashback or experiencing déjà vu. Welcome back Rich Harden, to the disabled list that is.

Technically, Harden will not see the disabled list for his latest injury, at least not yet, but he did manage to strain his lat muscle during the first day of official spring training workouts for pitchers and catchers.

The injury, while it does not appear to be major, will set Harden back for a couple of weeks: “We’ll wait until he’s pain free,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “It’s estimated that would be two weeks.”

Harden does not seem too concerned about his most recent injury, stating that it reminds him of an injury he experienced during the 2008 season. He returned from that injury after a small stint on the disabled list and put together one of his best seasons, going 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA in a split season with Oakland and the Chicago Cubs.

“It’s frustrating,” Harden said of his current injury. “But I still feel like I can go out there and be healthy for the season after this.

“I can come back and pitch well, (but) I was excited to get going just because I was feeling so good.”

Harden spent the offseason working with A’s pitching coach Ron Romanick. The two worked on mechanics, fixing bad habits that Harden says he picked up after his trade from Oakland to the Chicago Cubs during the 2008 season. His work with Romanick has already included four bullpen sessions, so he won’t be too far behind schedule when he returns in approximately two weeks.

Speaking of his work with Romanick, Harden says: “Mechanically, I was feeling like I’m where I need to be. The ball was coming out real good.” 

Harden will still compete for a spot in the rotation when he returns to the mound, but in the mean time the attention will shift to two other starters returning from injury: Josh Outman and Harden’s Texas teammate Brandon McCarthy.

Outman hasn’t pitched since June 2009 after having Tommy John surgery, and Brandon McCarthy has struggled with shoulder injuries that kept him out all of last season. Technically also in the mix for the fifth starter spot are Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer.

“I don’t think it changes anything,” A’s assistant general manager David Forst said. “We added depth in the offseason, and we still feel very comfortable with it.”

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