Just say, "No!" to Ross (Image: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE)

Cody Ross coming to the Bronx in 2013?

I’m going to be as professional as possible when I say this: Lord I hope not! A report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe indicates that the outfielder has gained interest in three big market teams, including the Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox. From a glance, this just seems like Ross is trying to use his career season with Boston and bang out a multi-year contract. As such, he’s using “big-market teams” to help drive up the price; it’s smart business all told. With all of the hoopla surrounded the re-signing of Nick Swisher and/or Curtis Granderson, can the Yankees use Cody Ross, or maybe the bigger question is, is Ross even a fit in the Bronx?In case you didn’t read what Cafardo said, here you go:

He has three major-market teams — the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox — very interested in him. Ross has made it clear he’d negotiate with the Red Sox right now and would stay in Boston if he had his druthers. The Sox are starting preliminary talks, but if something isn’t worked out before free agency begins, the Yankees and Phillies — at least — will be eager to talk to him. Ross played for Yankees manager Joe Girardi in Florida.

The last part about Ross playing for Girardi in Florida, I think, is a bit overblown. Let’s not forget, he’s played one year with Bobby Valentine, it doesn’t mean if Valentine latches onto another team that Ross will jump ship to play for him. Saying that, let’s dive into some statistics and see if the Yankees could truly use him as a stop-gap outfielder in 2013.

As alluded to before, Ross is having a good season with the Red Sox (.270/.333/.491) and he definitely has some pop (.221 ISO). His numbers might be fueled by a BABIP (.324) that’s a tad high. Looking purely at his batted ball numbers reveals he’s hitting line drives (21.8%) at a good clip and dropped his flyball percentage down from 48.4% while with the San Francisco Giants in 2011 to 42.7% while with the Red Sox.

The problem already presents itself in his handedness and his elevated statistics while hitting in Fenway Park. First, Fenway is a hitter’s delight for right-handers, and overall, ranks 107 (with 100 being average and most AL parks hovering around 101-102) in park factors, meaning it’s a “hitter’s ballpark.” Ross’ power stroke simply doesn’t play well for Yankee Stadium. It’d be a no-brainer if he were left-handed and was putting up these types of numbers, but since Fenway plays well for righties and Yankee Stadium plays to lefties strengths, Ross’ greatest asset would become average at best.

Looking at his splits shows that he’s below-average at best. His .258 average and 99 strikeouts in 357 plate appearances tells us that he’s not very good. However, he mashes lefties to the tune of .303/.386/.648. Basically, if you’re keeping score at home, he’s a platoon player wanting starter’s money. Not going to happen, at least in New York.

Moving onto other metrics, Ross’ fielding isn’t the greatest. He’s played each outfielder position for Boston this season with mixed results. Right field is obviously his most comfortable position, as he holds a 7.5 UZR/150 rating, which would rank him sixth-best in all of baseball if he had the minimum innings to qualify. For comparison’s sake, Nick Swisher comes in at 1.9. While at the surface it looks good, if you watched Ross play the outfield, you’d quickly know he’s a liability. Furthermore, he doesn’t have a great arm, which is a prerequisite for the position, in my opinion.

With all of this information presented, you can quickly see the reasons Cody Ross doesn’t belong in the Bronx, even as a stopgap. By all accounts he’s a nice guy, says all the right things, and is a “clubhouse guy,” but those things don’t win championships, unfortunately. Like I said before, he’s using big-market teams to drive up the price, so I don’t think there’s any truth behind these rumors, but it’s still fun to explore and compare.

Stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference

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  • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

    Interestingly, Fenway actually supresses homers for righties (PF of 98 for HR for R) while Yankee Stadium does the opposite (106). What Fenway really does is drastically increase doubles. So Ross might see an increase in home runs, but a decrease in extra base hits. All in all, you’re right that his offense would probably go down, but not necessarily by a lot.

    Nevertheless, I agree with you. I don’t think Ross is terrible by any means, but he’s probably not worth the price he’ll ask.

    • Jimmy Kraft

      If I had to sum up what I think of Ross in the Bronx in one sentence: I think his splits will be even more pronounced, if he donned the pinstripes.

  • Benjamin Orr

    Great article Jimmy.

    It’d certainly be interesting, but I believe Ross said himself that he wants to stay in Boston. He may not be a Matt Kemp or Ryan Braun, but he’s a good OF. The Red Sox probably know that and with their current outfielders, they’ll probably want to keep him or they’ll let more talent seep through their fingers, aka Josh Reddick.

    • Jimmy Kraft

      Thanks, Ben!

      I think ultimately, Ross will stay in Boston. Why wouldn’t he? He’s enjoyed his best year there and the ballpark plays to his strengths. That only bodes well for him when he looks for his real payday.

  • DereckSean

    That was a great article. I personally think the bombers would be better suited letting Swish, who I love btw, walk and signing Ichiro to a 2 yr deal and making a play for Chase Headley to split time with A-Rod at 3rd so he can DH more to stay healthy.

    • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

      I agree about Headley. I think he’s extremely underrated, and could be a huge offensive force away from Petco. Not sure what his asking price would be, but I would guess much less than Swisher for possibly more value.

      I like Ichiro, but I’m not sure he’s worth a 2 yr deal. He’s getting up there in age, and despite his performance with the Yanks this year, I just don’t see him being an effective hitter going forward. I wouldn’t mind a small one year deal, but in 2 years I really don’t see him having much value.

    • Jimmy Kraft

      It’d be VERY smart of the Yankees to grab Headley away from the Padres. Like Matt alluded to, he’d be a huge offensive force away from Petco and his bat would be a welcome addition to a lineup with aging players.

      Still hesitant on Ichiro. Like both Matt and Chris, I don’t see a multi-year deal for him despite his great numbers in NY. He’s basically an older Brett Gardner and who knows what Ichiro will play like next year. The Yankees are no longer in the business of giving aging superstars multi-year deals. (thankfully!)

  • Conor Duffy

    Senior staff writer at BoSox Injection here. I’ve loved watching Ross play, and I’d like to answer a few questions. First off, he’s not a bad fielder and while he doesn’t have a great arm, it’s still the best in the Red Sox outfield (not saying much!) and is certainly average at worst. Ross’s style of play fits very well into Fenway Park, and I’d love to see the Sox lock him up for a few years. He isn’t likely to have a major regression, and I could certainly see him hitting .260+ with 15-20 home runs in New York.

    • Jimmy Kraft

      Hey Conor, thanks for the reply. Setting aside statistics for a second, I look at Ross like I look at Curtis Granderson in the field. They both appear to make the routine plays, plus a few spectacular plays, but overall they are very average at best. Just from an eye test alone, that’s what I take away from Ross. Furthermore, I think his arm is what will do him in, among other things, as a potential OF in the Bronx.

      As for the hitting side of it, I think that’s a fair assumption. I think he’d fare more on the 15 HR side of things and he hasn’t exactly been the healthiest of players the last few years either.

      Love the banter, Conor. Come on back!

  • CalCoolidge

    Ross only as a fifth OF replacing Andruw Jones.
    My concern is, if the Yanks let Swisher go, who the heck is going to play first base?