The Padres and Cody Ross
As Cody Ross wades through the free agent market, searching for a suitor who will match his requirements and provide him the security he needs, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at a player who could have been a Padre. Inside the Padres has a great analysis of Ross, the Padres, and the Giants from last year, and in that analysis it is revealed Ross really wasn’t going to go to San Diego. It was a possibility though leading up to the Giants putting a waiver claim in on the outfielder.
The 2010 season was a great one in terms of rivalry. The Padres and the Giants were battling all season. Thanks to a 10-game collapse, the Padres essentially handed the Giants the NL West and eventually the World Series. However, one player had interested both teams during the battle for the division; Cody Ross.
Cody Ross was drafted in the 4th round of the 1999 draft by the Detroit Tigers. He played six games for the Tigers but was eventually tossed to the Dodgers. From there Ross had stops in Cincinnati (only two games), Miami, and San Francisco. In each location, he did nothing but hit.
Ross is a career .261/.323/.456 hitter. Obviously those aren’t superstar numbers. They are, however, the type of numbers a blue-collar, every day starting outfielder should put up. Yet, he’s never been coveted enough to stay with one team longer than the five years he spent in Florida.
Ross is 31 now and looking for a new home once again. San Diego is no longer an option as they have 5 outfielders on the roster who are all hoping for playing time. However, in 2010, Ross was an option. Unfortunately, Jed Hoyer and the Padres used Ross as a pawn in a plan to get the Giants to waste a roster position and pick up a player they otherwise wouldn’t have. The plan back-fired in magnificent fashion.
On August 24, 2010, Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote, “thinking the Padres were interested in Ross with Tony Gwynn going on the disabled list, San Francisco blocked the Padres from acquiring the Marlin on a waiver deal by claiming Ross ahead of the Padres (claiming order is based on the reverse won-loss record).”
The Padres may not have truly been interested in Ross, but they should have been. With the Giants in 2010, Ross played in 33 games, hit .288/.354/.466, clubbed three home runs, and posted a 122 OPS+. In doing so, he helped lead the Giants past a Padres team that struggled to find the offense to finish off the season.
Now, after spending all of 2011 with the Giants, and putting up solid numbers once again, Ross is on the market. Ross will never be a super-star, but he is a clubhouse leader. He’s the type of guy that plays hard, inspires a team, and finds ways to win. San Diego missed out on him, but some team this off-season is going to land a hard-nosed competitor.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Braves, the Rockies, the Reds, the Athletics, and now the Mets have all shown interest in Ross. He will surely land somewhere soon, and when he does, that team instantly finds itself in a better position. When calculating the Jed Hoyer era in San Diego, it’s important to remember was part of the reason Cody Ross ended up in San Francisco. Unintended consequences are consequences nonetheless.