Cody Ross Rumors

Red Sox Notes: LaRoche, Gonzalez, Ross, Aceves

Here's the latest news from Fenway…

  • The Red Sox are talking to Adam LaRoche, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  With the Sox reluctant to go beyond a three-year contract for Mike Napoli, LaRoche could be the team's fallback plan.  A three-year deal would top the Nationals' best offer to the free agent first baseman, as the Nats "have been fairly steadfast" in not offering LaRoche more than two years.  The Rangers have also been linked to both LaRoche and Napoli this offseason.
  • Also from Heyman's piece, he notes that the Red Sox have "checked in" on Alex Gonzalez and Stephen Drew, though Jose Iglesias will get first priority at shortstop.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury's name hasn't been mentioned in trade talks, team president Larry Lucchino said during an appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan radio show today (partial transcript from WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane).  Lucchino also said that while the Sox haven't closed the door on any free agents, "what we have ruled out is the kind of long-term, gigantic commitment to players if at all possible….We are more concerned about years than we are dollars."
  • From that same radio appearance (courtesy of The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber), Lucchino said the team is still interested in re-signing Cody Ross.  Though Boston recently signed Jonny Gomes, Lucchino said the team wants to build "deep depth" after last year's injury-plagued season.
  • The Red Sox will tender Alfredo Aceves a new contract before tomorrow's non-tender deadline, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.  The pitching-needy Sox value Aceves' versatility as a starter and reliever too much to let him go for nothing, despite Aceves' disciplinary issues in 2012.  Lauber thinks Aceves could still possibly be a trade candidate.

Mike Napoli Rumors: Tuesday

It's a good time to be a free agent catcher with power. Interest in Russell Martin remains strong, and the market for Mike Napoli seems similarly active. Here’s the latest on Napoli on a day that he had been scheduled to meet with the Rangers…

  • The Rangers remain focused on Napoli, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Their interest in Martin will increase only if Texas believes Napoli’s asking price is too high.
  • The Red Sox are in contact with Napoli, Nick Swisher and Cody Ross and all three free agents remain in play for Boston, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Napoli, Swisher and Ross appear to be the top targets for the Red Sox, who seek help at first base and in the outfield. One executive said he views the Red Sox as the favorite to sign Napoli. Like Swisher, Napoli has the versatility to play multiple positions, a bonus for the Red Sox.

Red Sox Notes: Ross, Napoli, Lester, Bailey

The Red Sox and Royals have had some discussions about a trade centered around Jon Lester and Wil Myers, and that's not the only trade possibility for Ben Cherington to consider in the week leading up to the Winter Meetings. Here are the details from Boston…

  • Friends of Cody Ross believe the Red Sox are in the lead for the outfielder, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Ross seeks a three-year deal and hasn't had new talks with the Red Sox in the last few days.
  • Mike Napoli appears to be Boston's top free agent target, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports (on Twitter). In the words of Lauber's source, everyone else is "1A" behind Napoli.
  • The Red Sox haven't had discussions with Lester about a possible extension, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The left-hander has one guaranteed year remaining on his contract with Boston. He'll earn $11.675MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $13MM option for 2014. Lester has said in the past that he'd be open to discussing an extension if the Red Sox are interested.
  • Rival teams say the Red Sox are open to dealing Andrew Bailey, Olney reports (on Twitter). However, the reliever’s trade value remains low, so it doesn’t appear likely that the Red Sox will move him. Olney reported last month that the Blue Jays considered acquiring Bailey for manager John Farrell.


Olney On Giants, Angels, Hamilton, Soriano

Buster Olney outlines the most pressing offseason needs for ten teams viewed as contenders in his latest column at ESPN.com. Here are more of Olney’s notes from around MLB…

  • Some GMs and agents say they sense that others are still waiting at this stage in the offseason. There’s a sense that asking prices could drop and opportunities could emerge a little later on.
  • The Giants aren’t sure they’re willing to commit to Angel Pagan for as many years as he’s seeking, Olney reports. But the Giants do believe they’ll find a way to re-sign second baseman Marco Scutaro.
  • Rival executives say the Angels have a thin farm system, Olney writes. This puts pressure on GM Jerry Dipoto to address his rotation through free agency, which gives Zack Greinke considerable leverage.
  • Some general managers believe the secondary starting pitching options are incredibly overpriced, Olney reports. MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker offers a complete list of the unsigned starting pitchers available in free agency.
  • Some executives say they’d be comfortable offering Josh Hamilton a three-year deal that includes protective language for the team. I expect Hamilton can do far better than a three-year deal.
  • The A’s seem like a possible fit for Asdrubal Cabrera, but they probably wouldn’t want to part with the kind of starting pitching the Indians would want in a trade for their shortstop.
  • Rival executives expect Scott Boras to try to engage the Tigers on Rafael Soriano, according to Olney. However, the Tigers have suggested they’d prefer to rely on internal options instead of spending big on a closer.
  • Some agents presume the Phillies will be particularly aggressive in addressing their center field need. Acquiring a center fielder remains the club's priority.
  • The Red Sox are open to signing Cody Ross, even after agreeing to terms with Jonny Gomes, according to Olney.

Red Sox, Jonny Gomes Nearing Two-Year Deal

2:10pm: The Orioles are out on Gomes, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says (on Twitter) that the outfielder is looking for $3-4MM annually.

12:23pm: The Red Sox are closing in on a two-year contract with free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. MVP Sports Group represents Gomes.

The Red Sox narrowed their search for outfielders to focus on Gomes and Cody Ross in recent days, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reported earlier today. McAdam first reported that the Red Sox had discussed a two-year deal with Gomes.

Gomes, 31, spent this past season with the Athletics as a corner outfielder and designated hitter. He posted a .262/.377/.491 batting line with 18 home runs and 44 walks in 333 plate appearances. Gomes, a career .284/.382/.512 hitter against left-handed pitching, continued hitting southpaws well in 2012. He posted a .974 OPS against lefties and hit 11 homers.

The Orioles have also been linked to Gomes, who was not ranked among MLBTR's top 50 free agents.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post, which was first published on November 21st.


Free Agent Faceoff: Ryan Ludwick vs. Cody Ross

Power-hitting corner outfielders are always in demand, but not every team has the pockets deep enough to make a run at Josh Hamilton or even Nick Swisher. The lower price tag on more affordable names like Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross leads to plenty of interest from teams looking for a boost in the outfield.

Ludwick, 34, produced a robust .275/.346/.531 triple slash line with 26 homers in 2012 — his first season with the Reds. While he was better at home in his hitter-friendly ballpark and against left-handed pitching, Ludwick managed to crack an .850 OPS both on the road and against right-handed pitching. In short, he hit regardless of the situation he was in. However, he totaled his fewest plate appearances since 2008 and provided negative value on defense according to UZR. He'll also turn 35 next July.

Ross won't turn 32 until December, and he enjoyed a strong season in his own right. He hit .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs in 2012 — also his first season with a new team (the Red Sox). Ross carried a noticeable home-road split (.921 home OPS; .684 away) and a significant left-right split as well (1.010 OPS vs. lefties; .729 vs. righties). Ross, however, appeared at all three outfield positions for the Red Sox and graded out strongly in right field according to UZR/150 (+6.3 runs).

Each has likely positioned himself for a multiyear deal. And, while each is drawing interest from his former club, other teams around the league surely are considering the services of both Ludwick and Ross.


Red Sox Notes: Ross, Catchers, Offseason

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe interviewed Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on a number of Hot Stove topics earlier today, including the pace of the offseason, a pair of Rosses, and the team's bulk of quality catchers. Here are the highlights…

  • The Red Sox remain in talks with Cody Ross but are also talking to other corner outfield options as well.
  • Boston signed David Ross because Cherington and his colleagues "wanted to have someone as part of the catching group who has been through the wars and has a good feel for the game." Abraham notes that Ross will receive more playing time than a standard backup catcher.
  • Cherington expects David Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway all to contribute to the club in 2013, implying that he's not planning on dealing any of his catchers. The plan right now, not surprisingly, is for Saltalamacchia to start with Ross backing up and Lavarnway likely opening the year at Triple-A Pawtucket.
  • Cherington doesn't feel that the team is moving at a slow pace thus far this offseason. He tells Abraham that the team is well ahead of where it was at this juncture in 2011: "We’ve spent a lot more time on player issues at this time as compared to last year. That doesn’t always turn into announcements."
  • The Red Sox will have a "significant" payroll and will be adding free-agent talent to the team, according to Cherington. He also wouldn't rule out trading prospects for established talent, though he stressed that he'd need to acquire another long-term piece in return if he were to do so.

Red Sox Links: Ross, Reyes, Nolasco, Morrison

Here's the latest out of Boston…


Braves Interested In Cody Ross

The Braves have interest in free agent outfielder Cody Ross, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. He has a good relationship with Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez from their time together with the Marlins.

The 31-year-old Ross posted a .267/.326/.481 line with 22 homers in 528 plate appearances for the Red Sox this season, and the Braves are targeting a right-handed hitting outfielder to balance their lineup. Ross is said to be seeking a three-year deal worth $25MM this winter, and so far he's received interest from the Phillies and Orioles.

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Ross as the 22nd best free agent in his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would re-sign with the Red Sox. Earlier today WEEI.com's Rob Bradford noted (on Twitter) that Torii Hunter's decision could impact Ross since the same clubs are interested in both players.


Phillies Interested In Josh Hamilton, Cody Ross

The Phillies are comfortable paying Josh Hamilton a high annual salary, but they have concerns about committing to the free agent outfielder on a long-term contract, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). Hamilton, the winter’s top free agent position player, is a client of Moye Sports Associates.

The Phillies are also among the teams talking with outfielder Cody Ross, Olney reports. Ross, a free agent who's not tied to draft pick compensation, is a client of SFX.

The Orioles also appear to have interest in both outfielders. The Red Sox discussed the possibility of a new deal with Ross, whose asking price appears to be $25MM for three years. While some teams are wary of that kind of commitment, other clubs appear to have interest in committing to Ross on a three-year deal. The Braves and Red Sox appear to have some level of interest in Hamilton.