Cody Ross to the A’s? Let’s Hope Not
I have lamented quite a bit the past few weeks about the A’s lack of outfield depth. Particularly with respect to the trade that sent Andrew Bailey to Boston, I was particularly perturbed to not be keeping the services of Ryan Sweeney and seeing if he can finally become the outfielder and more notably hitter that I felt he could become. That said, while I was sad to see Sweeney go, and though we do certainly need depth at the position, the fact remains that the A’s are rebuilding. That means the depth is more along the lines of adding Jason Pridie to the 40-man roster or adding a prospect via trade, etc. What it does not mean is spending “a lot” (i.e. more than league minimum) on some outfielder to fill that hole. As per Jeff Fletcher the editor of Athletics Magazine who writes it on his site, Bay Bridge Baseball the A’s may be looking to do just that,
“The A’s are currently in talks to sign former Giants postseason hero Cody Ross, a source has confirmed to me… presumably it would be a one-year deal, as they look for someone to add just a little experience to their outfield.”
First off a disclaimer, I think it is strange that a person who edits the official team issued magazines of the A’s (and the Giants too) would comment on a deal from an unnamed source from his employer. The tight-lipped A’s front-office couldn’t be happy with their official editor running around saying, “hey guess what Billy Beane is up to!” Of course on the flip side, how much information is he really privy to (though I think he’d have good access to individuals who may be privy to such)? It also just seems convenient that this a rumor involving a player who would move from one of his employers to another, but then again that may just be coincidence or be further verification of the validity of his rumor. But for the sake of this let’s assume the rumor is on target.
What a terrible idea.
I don’t have any real problems with Ross. I don’t think he is very great but he also isn’t terrible and for a competitive team he would be a nice addition. Last season in San Francisco he was a 0.9 WAR player and in 461 plate appearances managed a .240/.325/.405 slash line with fourteen home runs. He was a narrowly above average offensively producing player with a .321 wOBA (average was .316) and 102 wRC+, and was a net-negative defender. His walk rate was a career high 10.6%, well above his average (7.3%) but still he isn’t exactly an on-base machine. Ross can play all three outfield positions and did so for the Giants last year appearing 83 times in left, 35 in right and 22 in center – which would be a valuable asset for the A’s. But why do it? What does he get you? Perhaps a few extra wins. Frankly in a rebuild, trying to add wins is long-term a bad strategy. While you don’t try to win, you also don’t do anything that needlessly increases you chance of short-term winning as it hurts the long-term winning goal of developing starters, properly evaluating the talent you do have at the MLB level, etc. Cody Ross isn’t roster filler (he is championship team caliber roster filler) and that means he is someone Oakland does not need.