San Diego Padres: Ross Not Tendered, 2016 Ace Now Free Agent


The San Diego Padres made a very surprising move on Friday, electing not to tender right-hander Tyson Ross. Now, 2016’s Opening Day starter is a free agent.

It has been an unconventional start to the offseason for the San Diego Padres. Earlier on Friday, general manager A.J. Preller made his first post-suspension move, dealing Derek Norris to the Nationals. Now, the team has decided to allow right-hander Tyson Ross to hit the free agent market.

This is a very surprising decision, as Ross was the Opening Day starter in 2016. While not completely recovered from an injury suffered in his first start of 2016, the 29-year-old is expected to be ready to go for the start of 2017.

Ross is one of ten players which are arbitration-eligible for the Padres. If the organization does not tender these players’ contracts by late Friday night, they will become free agents.

Norris was the first to go, as he was traded. He was also expected by many to be the only to go, but with this news, he may not be. Now, Ross can consider his options and either be extended by San Diego, or go elsewhere.

It is difficult to understand the Padres’ reasoning for this. After all, they are in need of gaining starting pitching. The first step in doing this would be to ensure that none is lost, especially any staple of the rotation in years past.

Ross missed virtually all of 2016, but proved his value in 2014 and 2015. With two consecutive 10 win seasons, as well as an All-star Selection in 2014, Ross was quickly becoming San Diego’s top starter.

With Clayton Richard and Edwin Jackson as free agents this offseason, the Padres could lose 60% of their 2016 Opening Day rotation if Ross goes elsewhere. This is taking the youth movement to a different level.

This is what makes the decision very strange. There are, however, a few possible explanations.

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If the injury Ross suffered which required an October 13th surgery is resurfacing, there is no reason to risk it. If the organization knows something the fans don’t, they may have legitimate reason to be concerned.

His $9.625 million contract could also be burdensome, but failing to secure him for 2017 for the sole purpose of clearing this out is peculiar. The more likely scenario is that the Padres do wish to re-sign him, but feel that they can do so much more affordably.

The Padres also chose not to tender catcher Hector Sanchez, right-handers Jon Edwards and Erik Johnson, and infielders Alexi Amarista and Jose Pirela. These moves however, were not surprises.

Next: Norris Traded to Nationals, Padres get Pedro Avila

With Ross now a free agent, the team will begin exploring its options. There is definitely a degree of concern among fans now with one of their top starters possibly gone. But as the offseason continues, little that is done goes exactly as planned. And with six players now hitting free agency, it’s only getting underway.