Cody Ross Rumors

Orioles Targeting Josh Hamilton & Cody Ross

The Orioles were a surprise contender this year and now it appears they might be a surprise big spender in the offseason. Baltimore is targeting Josh Hamilton and Cody Ross for their left field job, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

Hamilton, 31, would add major left-handed thump to a lineup that already features Nick Markakis and Chris Davis. He also wouldn't have to play center field thanks to Adam Jones. Ross, 31, would complement Jones as a right-handed power hitter and would come considerably cheaper. He's reportedly seeking three years and $25MM while Hamilton figures to demand nine figures.


AL East Notes: Ross, Yankees, Orioles

The Blue Jays aren’t going to rush their managerial search, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reported yesterday. Here’s the latest on the rest of the AL East, on the day before the GM Meetings begin in California…


Cody Ross Seeking Three-Year, $25MM Deal

ESPN's Buster Olney reports that in negotiations between Cody Ross and the Red Sox, Ross and his agents at SFX were seeking a contract in the three-year, $25MM range (Twitter link).

Ross signed a one-year, $3MM contract with the Red Sox last winter in hopes of rebuilding his value and re-entering the market in search of a multi-year deal. He did just that, slugging 22 homers and putting up a solid .267/.326/.481 batting line in 130 games for the BoSox.

Ross' 2012 season is comparable to the 2011 season enjoyed by Josh Willingham when he was with the Athletics. Willingham hit .246/.332/.477 with 29 homers for the A's that season and was rewarded with a three-year, $21MM contract by the Twins. Ross didn't post as gaudy of a home run total, but he also posseses the ability to play center field in a pinch and has a better defensive reputation in general.

Despite a glaring home-road split (.232/.294/.390 away from Fenway Park), Ross has likely positioned himself as a candidate for a multi-year deal. He'll be going up against the likes of Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Torii Hunter and Ichiro Suzuki in this year's free agent class for corner outfielders.



Red Sox Links: Ortiz, Offseason Plans

Earlier today, the Red Sox assured that longtime designated hitter David Ortiz would be in Boston through 2014 when they signed him to a two-year deal. Earlier today, general manager Ben Cherington addressed the media regarding the makeup of his team and the upcoming offseason. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has a rundown

  • The team has decisions to make at first base, shortstop, both corner outfield positions and in the fifth spot of the rotation. Speier notes that the team must also look beyond 2013 at the team's long-term plans for center field and catcher.
  • Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey should occupy the first four spots in the rotation, but the team will go outside the organization to acquire a fifth starter. That could happen via either free agency or trade.
  • Cherington didn't sound overly optimistic when discussing his chances of re-signing Cody Ross“We’ve had a number of conversations. Obviously we’re into free agency now. We didn’t sign him before that started. The door will remain open, and we’ll continue to talk, but once we’re in free agency, he’s got opportunities to talk to other teams, and we fully expect him to do that … We'll keep talking. At the same time, we've got to consider alternatives, too."
  • The Red Sox were never particularly close to completing a trade for either Ervin Santana or Dan Haren when the Angels made both right-handers available last week.
  • Boston could hire a new pitching coach and hitting coach within a week's time.
  • Cherington told Speier that he hopes Ortiz retires as a member of the Red Sox (Twitter link). He added that he hopes that retirement is several years away.

East Notes: Mets, Jays, Shields, Red Sox, Nationals

As it stands now, the Mets don't have a great deal of money to spend in free agency after exercising the options on David Wright and R.A. Dickey for 2013. However, the club could free up cash by opting to trade one or both if they are unable to come to terms on contract extensions. The Mets have a serious need for outfield help and multiple baseball officials told Mike Puma of the New York Post that they see Cody Ross as a possible free agent target for the team. Here's more from the AL and NL East:

  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom that "the Blue Jays have kicked the tires about possibly interviewing" Matt Williams for their managerial vacancy, but have yet to formally ask for permission. Williams is scheduled to meet with top Rockies officials at Coors Field and will be the final candidate to do so, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com.
  • James Shields, who is set to become the highest-paid player in Rays' franchise history, is prepared to be a prime subject of the Hot Stove rumor mill this winter, writes the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin. "Obviously my name's been thrown around a lot," the right-hander said. "I'm just going to go about my business and not really worry about it. Obviously I want to be a Ray. I've been here 12 years, this is my home. If it does happen, it'll be a sad day."
  • Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald suggests that the Red Sox should trade Jacoby Ellsbury as they are unlikely to come to terms with him on a contract extension. The Red Sox could find a partner in the Rangers as they may prefer to give Ellsbury a long-term commitment rather than Josh Hamilton and can afford to part with shortstop Elvis Andrus
  • The Red Sox are bolstering their scouting department in anticipation of having, for the first time since 1993 and just the second time since 1967, a top ten pick in the amateur draft, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier. The team rehired John Booher, the person most directly involved in the scouting process of Ellsbury in 2005 and Nick Hagadone in 2007, and hired former MLB pitcher Brian Moehler as an area scout for Georgia.
  • Tom Kotchman, who resigned last week as a manager and scout in the Angels organization, interviewed with the Red Sox on Thursday, tweets Conor Glassey of Baseball America. Glassey points to former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane's position with Boston as the club's new Special Assistant to Player Personnel for the mutual interest. 
  • The Red Sox wanted to hold on to reliever Michael Olmstead, but their current 40-man roster crunch made it impossible, explains Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The 6'7", 245-pound right-hander signed with the Brewers as a minor league free agent last night.
  • For now, people familiar with the Nationals’ thinking expect them to either trade arbitration-eligible John Lannan or allow him to walk, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nats could instead convert Christian Garcia from a reliever to a starter to fill out the rotation, but his history of arm trouble may make that too risky.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


AL Links: Ross, Red Sox, Angels, Orioles

In an Insider-only piece, ESPN's Keith Law broke down the market for corner infielders. He lists Kevin Youkilis as the best value buy and James Loney as the worst. Both players ended the season in the AL, and here are some more links from the so-called Junior Circuit…

  • Cody Ross told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he and the Red Sox never got close to a new deal during the exclusive negotiating period this week. "They had a ton of opportunities," said the outfielder. "We talked about this back in July and we couldn't work anything out up until the deadline. Now it only makes sense to listen to other teams."
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Angels have lost leverage against Zack Greinke following the trade of Ervin Santana and the declining of Dan Haren's option. GM Jerry Dipoto still has plenty of time and pitching options available to him at this point of the offseason, however.
  • Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore.com listed the five worst contracts in Orioles history, led by the five-year, $65MM pact given to Albert Belle. He hit a superb .297/.400/.541 in the first year of the deal, but he slid to .281/.342/.474 in year two and didn't play at all in years three, four, and five.

Red Sox Notes: Ortiz, Ross, Farrell, Cherington

Earlier today, the Red Sox (re-)introduced John Farrell to the Boston media, two days after sending Mike Aviles north of the border to free him from the manager from his contract with the Blue Jays.  Here's more on the Red Sox..

  • In an interview with NBC's Bob Costas, former Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine opined that David Ortiz quit on the team after their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers, writes Matthew Pouliot of HardballTalk.  "He realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there," said Valentine.  The slugger is currently working to iron out a new deal with Boston.
  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) found it interesting that Farrell mentioned Cody Ross right away when asked about players that he has reached out to.  Ross is set to hit the open market after turning in a strong campaign on a one-year, $3MM deal.
  • There has been talk that the Blue Jays are upset with the Red Sox over what they perceive as tampering in the courtship of John Farrell, but GM Ben Cherington says that nothing of the sort took place, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  "I can say definitively that wherever that speculation was coming from, it wasn't coming from me. The only conversations I had about the situation were directly to [CEO] Paul [Beeston] and [GM] Alex [Anthopoulos]'s until Saturday, when I got a chance to talk to John," said Cherington.
  • The solid relationship and familiarity between Cherington and Farrell will be key to the club's success going forward, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.

Red Sox, Ross Build Momentum Toward Contract

Contract talks between the Red Sox and Cody Ross have gained “some momentum,” Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The Red Sox are attempting to re-sign the outfielder, who is on track to hit free agency once the World Series ends.

The Red Sox had some preliminary extension talks with Ross throughout the second half of the season, but the team never presented the SFX client with a formal offer, according to Bradford. Boston’s front office executives continued talks with Ross and fellow free agent David Ortiz earlier in the month.

Ross, 31, posted a .267/.326/.481 batting line in 528 plate appearances for the Red Sox this past season. He contributed 22 home runs and 34 doubles while playing all three outfield positions and earning $3MM.


Red Sox In Talks With Ortiz, Ross

General Manager Ben Cherington confirmed to reporters that the Red Sox have begun contract talks with both David Ortiz and Cody Ross, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (via Twitter).  Both players are set to hit the open market after this season.

Ortiz has made it clear that he is looking for a two-year deal this offseason, but isn't seeking anything longer than that.  In the slugger's view, a two-year pact will allow him to avoid questions about his contract status in the 2013 and would mark a sign of respect from the organization.  The soon-to-be 37-year-old earned his eighth All-Star selection this season, hitting .318/.415/.611 with 23 homers.

Ross, 31, says that his top priority this offseason will be signing with a contender.  The Red Sox picked up the outfielder on a one-year, $3MM deal last winter and figures to see a significant bump in pay and contract length this time around.


Quick Hits: Prospects, Ross, Wood, Francis

The Tigers can tie the White Sox for the AL Central lead today, but it'll take a win over the Royals and some help from the Indians, who are visiting the south side of Chicago. Here are today's links…

  • Athletics first-round selection Addison Russell tops Baseball America's list of the 20 best prospects from the rookie-level Arizona League. The A's selected the high school shortstop 11th overall, and he hit .415/.488/.717 in 26 games in the Arizona League before being promoted to Class A ball.
  • Cody Ross has been a bargain acquisition in the past, but he’s likely headed for a raise as a free agent following a strong offensive showing with the Red Sox, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. As Speier explains, Ross has been traded for next to nothing in the past.
  • Kerry Wood will work with the Cubs next year, likely as an on-field instructor, Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Wood, who retired in May, said he hopes to have some kind of role in uniform with the Cubs, ideally alongside some of his former teammates.
  • The Rockies will enter the 2013 season with questions related to Todd Helton, Drew Pomeranz, Jim Tracy and others, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The Rockies want to bring Jeff Francis back when he hits free agency this offseason, according to Saunders.