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