BOSTON (CBS) – When you first hear “the Red Sox have signed Ross”, you immediately think of Cody Ross and not David.
But, that’s just what the Red Sox did over the weekend, agreeing to a two-year deal with catcher David Ross worth a reported $6.2 million. On paper, it’s a ho-hum back-up catcher signing, with Ross backing up Brian McCann in Atlanta the last four years.
However, I think this signing is a strong indication of what this team is thinking about as far as righting the last place ship: pitching.
Ben Cherington, John Farrell, Juan Nieves, and Gary Tuck probably sat down and discussed what is needed first and foremost on this team. That was a catcher who knows how to call a game, has experience with great pitching staffs, and one that can mentor younger catchers.
They now have that in David Ross.
The Red Sox now have a guy who knows this market too, having played eight games with Boston in 2008. He can work with Ryan Lavarnway and/or Jarrod Saltalamacchia to help them learn their craft, call games, work with younger pitchers, etc. Boston lost that when Jason Varitek hung up his cleats.
The 35-year-old Ross also becomes an extension of Farrell and Nieves. A signing like this shows me that Farrell understands that fixing this pitching staff is priority numbers one, two, and three with the Sox. Fix Lester, Buchholz, Bard, Bailey, etc and this team has a chance.
The obvious question is what happens next at the catching position? Does Lavarnway head back down to Pawtucket to get more experience behind the plate? Do Lavarnway and Salty stay with Salty seeing time against right-handers at first base? Or does Salty hit the trade market? And, will Ross split duties with either one?
I know the Sox love Lavarnway’s potential and I know Lavarnway isn’t worried about his abysmal .157 batting average last season. He knows it will come around.
I now wonder if the Sox are also thinking about “letting the kids play” in 2013.
Maybe Larvarnway, Jose Iglesias, and Ryan Kalish come into camp and the regular season with the “it’s their jobs to lose” label.
We’ll see, but one thing I will say is don’t underestimate how important the November 10th, 2012 signing of David Ross was to the 2013 Boston Red Sox.