On Friday, the Padres made their first significant move of the offseason when they traded Pitcher Andrew Werner and Utility Infielder Andy Parrino to the Athletics for Pitcher Tyson Ross and First Baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones. Although the move does not sound particularly intriguing now to any non-Padres followers, it was in my opinion a solid trade to kick-start the offseason period. The biggest reasons why I was fond of this particular trade was in large part due to Ross’ versatility, and how he could help San Diego’s currently thin Pitching Staff in the short and hopefully long terms.
Although Ross is not a top of the rotation type of Pitcher at this point in his career, spots are wide-open for competition on San Diego’s starting staff. As it stands, the Padres have only 3 of the 5 potential starting spots sealed up and taken for the 2013 season (Richard, Volquez, Stults), and Ross could earn either the #4 or #5 spot during the offseason. With Ross, the Padres acquired their team a Pitcher with not only more big League experience (53 Games, 21 Starts) than Werner had, but a Pitcher with a better arm velocity-wise, and some experience logged out of the Bullpen as well. This type of versatility Ross could eventually bring would make his acquisition quite the effective move.
Even if Ross is unable to crack the Friars’ Starting Rotation out of Spring Training, he still should play a valuable role as a Long Reliever. A position I might add that San Diego sorely needed last year when their Starters would sometimes get “shelled” and were left to rot without any adequate arms to fill in for them. And hey, if injuries strike again, at least there will be a 6th Starter/Long Reliever already on the roster ready to fill a potential void in the Rotation with some sort of big League track-record.
As much upside and hope as there is surrounding Ross, he is still developing and is coming off of his most rough season as a professional. Tyson struggled at times last season (2-11 record 6.50 ERA in 73.1 IP) with Oakland after he made strides during his first two stints with the club in 2010 and 2011. The 25 year-old however rebounded in Triple-A Sacramento late last season, and finished the season on a high note with a 6-2 Record over 13 Starts (15 Games) and 78.1 Innings. Ross definitely had a much better Strikeout to Walk ratio with the River Cats (64 to 29) than he did with Oakland (46 to 37) last season, and it is one of the biggest areas he must improve upon if he is going to earn any sort of role with the team.
The accumulation of arms is a perfect strategy San Diego should employ this offseason, and it appears that is the direction in which they are going right now. Although the Padres still do not have a legitimate #1 Starter on their roster as of yet, and still could stand to acquire another Starting Pitching candidate or two this offseason the more potential starters coming to Peoria, the better. Ross is not a be-all end-all solution to the team’s Starting Pitching/Pitching Staff woes, but any and every move to improve the competition on the team at such an important positional unit always helps.
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference