Cody Ross, owner of one of the shortest names in baseball, is headed to a team with one of the longest names in baseball. After agreeing to terms with the Diamondbacks earlier today, the slugging outfielder will get to celebrate his 32nd birthday tomorrow in style, as he will be soon a significantly wealthier man. His new contract is said to be worth $25 million over the next three seasons with another $1 million guaranteed as the buyout on the 2016 season should the team not wish to bring him back for a fourth year.
Ross, owner of a career .198 ISO, certainly has the pop to man a corner outfield position every day for just about any team in either league, but he doesn’t hit for average, and he could stand to walk a little more. The final package is that of a solidly above average hitter who absolutely rakes left-handed pitching.
If Ross were a left-handed hitter with traditional platoon splits instead of a right-handed hitter with traditional platoon splits, it’d be a lot easier to get behind this deal for the Diamondbacks, but since he’s decidedly mediocre (or worse) for a starting corner outfielder against non-southpaws, it seems that he’s better served in a spot starter role/lefty masher — someone who might receive 300-400 plate appearances in a typical season.
Instead, the Diamondbacks, who already have plenty of outfielders to choose from, are paying a player for his age 32-34 seasons who isn’t particularly good at defense or anything at all other than hitting for occasional power. Ross would make a fantastic frequently used bench part, but he’s been worth more than 2.4 WAR exactly one time in his career. This isn’t a dreadful signing, but it still seems like a questionable one.