Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Cody Ross is a solid if unspectacular upgrade over the Tigers' current right field situation, especially against left-handed pitchers.
The people have spoken. Here is the Cody Ross preview that everyone has been clamoring for, and since I'm sick, it's a little slap-happy. Enjoy.
Who is he?
Ross, a 4th round draft pick of the Tigers in 1999, spent a number of years toiling around the National League -- including that famous 2010 playoff run with the San Francisco Giants -- before returning to the American League last season with the Boston Red Sox. He celebrated by having his best offensive season since 2008, hitting .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs. More importantly, he mashed left-handed pitchers to the tune of .295/.373/.636 with 12 of those 22 home runs in just 150 plate appearances.
Why should we care?
As mentioned above, Ross abuses lefties. Throughout his career, he has hit .284/.353/.575 against southpaws, including 58 of his 122 career home runs -- all in roughly 28% of his career plate appearances. He has a decent eye at the plate as well, walking in 7.4% of his plate appearances throughout his career and 8.0% last season. His glove isn't bad either -- though advanced metrics seem to agree that he struggled with the Giants, arguably the best comparison with Comerica Park's expansive outfield. Still, he wouldn't be a bad fit in right field for the Tigers.
Why should we stay away?
Ross is very Delmon Young-esque against right-handed pitching, hitting just .253/.312/.415 for his career and .256/.308/.422 last season. I don't like the idea of signing someone like Ross to be a platoon player with Quintin Berry or Brennan Boesch. Yes, I am completely ignoring the fact that those numbers are still better than Berry's or Boesch's against righties. Jim Leyland will too.
Speaking of those two names, Ross also has a Boesch-like tendency of either being white hot (see: 2010 postseason) or ice cold. 2012 was one of his most even-keeled seasons in a while, though his power numbers slowly declined from July 1 onward. The streakiness can obviously go both ways, but after getting swept by the Giants, I am in no mood for streakers or green hats (+1 if you get that reference) or any of those shenanigans right now.
Also, he wears fedoras.
Will he end up in Detroit?
The odds are better than you think. While many pundits (myself included) have predicted that Ross will return to Boston, Ross came out yesterday and told the media that he and the Red Sox aren't that close in terms of contract negotiations. Reading between the lines, it looks like Ross is peeved that a deal hasn't been worked out yet and may want out of Boston because of this. The Red Sox did not make Ross a qualifying offer, meaning that the Tigers can sign him without forking over their first round pick.