Cody Ross is still in free agent limbo, awaiting a team to sign him to the three-year deal he’s been seeking.
The Red Sox says they’re still in it, but with Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino added to the outfield mix and Gomes being righthanded, it seems tough to figure where Ross fits. Ross, who had a strong season on a one-year, $3 million deal, told the Red Sox from the outset his comparisons were Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer.
Willingham received a three-year, $21 million deal from the Twins after they let Cuddyer sign a three-year, $31.5 million deal with the Rockies last winter. The Red Sox gave Victorino a three-year, $39 million deal, but Ross wasn’t signed for what seemed to be a lesser salary demand, and he excelled at Fenway.
Willingham signed with Minnesota after hitting .246 with 29 homers, 98 RBIs, and an .810 OPS for the A’s in 2011. Cuddyer hit .284 with 20 homers, 70 RBIs, and an .805 OPS with the Twins in 2011 before signing with Colorado. Ross hit .267 with 22, homers, 81 RBIs, and an .807 OPS with the Red Sox in 2012.
Ross has drawn considerable interest from the Braves, Phillies, Mets, Yankees, and Orioles, but nothing is close, according to a major league source.
One American League GM said the Red Sox, “may be trying to deal Jacoby Ellsbury and then sign Ross after they move Victorino to center.” That makes some sense, but so far that hasn’t transpired.
Rumors swirled on Tuesday that the Dodgers were trying to move Andre Ethier to sign Nick Swisher. With that came thoughts that the Dodgers and Red Sox might engage in an Ellsbury-Ethier swap, which would give the Dodgers their leadoff hitter.
But when asked whether such a swap was possible, a Dodgers official promptly replied, “No.”
Ellsbury makes some sense for the Dodgers, who have second baseman Mark Ellis, with a .331 on base percentage last season, leading off. The Dodgers could move Matt Kemp to left to preserve his legs and have Ellsbury in center.
The Dodgers would also be equipped to negotiate a new deal with Ellsbury with Scott Boras. The Dodgers don’t seem to be biting.