Dave Ross Rumors

WEEI’s Latest: Anthopoulos, Ross, Butterfield

Here's the latest from WEEI's Hot Stove Show with Rob Bradford, Alex Speier and Kirk Minihane…

  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said the blockbuster with the Marlins came together in about 5-6 days. Talks between the two sides started with Josh Johnson, but obviously expanded. Anthopoulos also discussed the competitive advantage of keeping talks under wraps.
  • Red Sox manager John Farrell said David Ross was a priority signing because of his leadership skills as well as his throwing ability. He's thrown out 37.5% of attempted base stealers over the last eight years, second only to Yadier Molina.
  • Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield told Bradford he was a candidate for the Blue Jays' managerial job until the "11th-hour." Butterfield added there "were certain things (Anthopoulos) wanted in his next manager … he really had to have a guy who had previous major league managing experience."

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 To Sign David Ross

8:28pm: It's a two-year, $6.2MM contract, tweets Rosenthal.

7:49am: The Red Sox have agreed to sign catcher David Ross to a two-year contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The deal is still pending a physical. Ross is a Sports One Athlete Management client.

Uspw_6106010Over the last four seasons, the 35-year-old Ross has established himself as the best hitting backup catcher in baseball. He hit .269/.353/.463 with the Braves during that time, including .256/.321/.449 with nine homers in 196 plate appearances this year. Thanks in part to the presence of Brian McCann, Ross has not come to the plate even 200 times in a single season since 2007. He played with the Red Sox very briefly in 2008.

Rosenthal hears that Ross will be "more than a backup but not a starter" with Boston (Twitter link). The Red Sox already have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate, but the former hit just .170/.211/.283 against left-handers this year while the latter hit .157/.211/.248 overall in 166 late season plate appearances. Ross gives them a platoon partner for Salty while Lavarnway could continue to refine his game in Triple-A. As a right-handed hitter, Ross should benefit from playing in Fenway Park.

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes did not rank Ross on his Top 50 Free Agents list. The backstop earned $1.625MM in each of the last two seasons, and he did not receive a qualifying offer from Atlanta. The Red Sox won't have to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. McCann may miss the start of next year following his offseason shoulder surgery, so the Braves will have to find a capable replacement for Ross.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

Rosenthal On B.J. Upton, Bourn, Morse, Ethier

Here's the latest from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal as he dissects the buzz and rumors currently circulating around the league…

  • The addition of two former members from the Rays organization has nothing to do with a potential pursuit of center fielder B.J. Upton, says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
  • While some teams may prefer Upton over Michael Bourn thanks to his age (nearly two years younger) and the ability to hit for power, Rosenthal points out that Bourn's value comes from being a well-rounded player. 
  • Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche's decision regarding his free agency may greatly impact Washington's course of action this offseason, especially with left fielder Michael Morse
  • The notion that the Dodgers may consider moving Andre Ethier just months after signing him to a five-year, $85MM contract simply wouldn't be the best move for Los Angeles heading into 2013, opines Rosenthal.
  • Look for the Yankees to re-sign Russell Martin, but the Bombers have had their eye on free agent David Ross, who has served as Brian McCann's backup with the Braves since 2009.
  • The Cardinals and second baseman Skip Schumaker may be parting ways this offseason as the veteran no longer has a defined role with the club thanks to the emergence of young talent. 

Quick Hits: Yankees, Mets, Indians, Ross

With just one day to go before option decisions are due and only a few days remaining before free agents can sign with any team, here are the latest links from around MLB…

Braves Would Like To Re-Sign Ross

The Braves have contacted David Ross' agents at Sports One Athlete Management and made it known that they'd like to re-sign him, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O'Brien adds that Ross has made it known he'd like to return to Atlanta.

With Brian McCann now a possibility to miss the beginning of the 2013 season, re-signing Ross likely becomes more of a priority for general manager Frank Wren. Ross, who will turn 36 during Spring Training next season, hit .256/.321/.449 with nine homers in 196 plate appearances for the Braves in 2012.

Ross initially signed a two-year, $3MM contract with the Braves prior to the 2009 season. He elected to sign a two-year extension worth $3.25MM prior to the 2011 season rather than testing free agency. The veteran will likely require a larger annual commitment given his strong play over his tenure in Atlanta. He'll represent one of the more desireable options on the free agent market for catchers.

Brian McCann Could Miss Start Of 2013 Season

Braves catcher Brian McCann underwent shoulder surgery today and, due to a larger-than-expected tear of his labrum, will be out of action for 4-6 months according to a team press release (passed on MLB.com's Mark Bowman).  McCann is expected to resume light baseball activities by mid-February and full activities by mid-April, so it seems likely that the six-time All-Star will miss at least the first couple of weeks of the 2013 season.

The Braves have until three days after the World Series to decide about exercising McCann's $12MM team option for 2013, or they could buy the catcher out for $500K.  The option was thought to be a foregone conclusion despite McCann's career-worst .230/.300/.399 slash line in 487 plate appearances given McCann's track record, the Braves' lack of other catching options and the belief that the surgery would correct the issues that hampered McCann's performance. 

I'd argue that Atlanta is still likely to pick up the option for these reasons, though McCann's chances of receiving a multiyear extension beyond 2013 are very questionable.  The added uncertainty about McCann's health may also cause the team to look for a stable backup option this winter.  There is mutual interest between the Braves and long-time backup David Ross, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but the team doesn't see Ross as a viable everyday solution should McCann be forced to miss an extended period of time.  Ross, a free agent, has a .816 OPS in 663 plate appearances for the Braves over the last four seasons.

Wren Talks Bourn, Free Agency, Catchers, Hanson

The Braves' season ended in a game that will be remembered for a controversial call last week, as did the likely Hall of Fame career of Chipper Jones. With a feeling that he could only describe as "emptiness," general manager Frank Wren talked with David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the playoffs, his team's upcoming offseason and several of the decisions they'll have to make…

  • Wren suggested that he's not a fan of the Wild Card format and that he'd like to see the system amended to give the Wild Card teams a three-game series, beginning with a day-night double-header.
  • He also said that it's worth revisiting the trade deadline, which Wren feels is "pretty early for the current system." August 15 would be a more logical date for teams to determine whether or not they want to push for the Wild Card, in Wren's estimation.
  • Wren says he's looking forward to a "focused" offseason. The front office recognizes that they have to replace Jones at third base, and they hope to retain Michael Bourn, whose contract expired at season's end. The team would like to address center field and the leadoff position in the same move — a role which Bourn can obviously fill. The Braves contacted Bourn's representatives about an extension in Spring Training but were told to wait until after the season to engage in negotiations.
  • Atlanta would love to have David Ross back in the fold in 2013. Wren spoke very highly of his backup catcher to O'Brien.
  • The Braves chose not to have Brian McCann undergo an MRI with a dye injection during the season because the recovery is too long. McCann will undergo that test in the near future, which could reveal a need for surgery, but for the time being the Braves believe their catcher needs only rest to recover.
  • Jason Heyward could handle center field "for a few days," but Wren and his associates don't view him as a long-term answer in center. Wren said he considers Heyward among the best defensive right fielders in the game and wouldn't want to diminish his defensive value by moving him.
  • The Braves have options on McCann ($12MM), Tim Hudson ($8MM) and Paul Maholm ($6.5MM), and they'll address those decisions in the coming weeks.
  • It would take a "very, very big piece" to trade Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran this winter. The trade market does figure to be in play for the Braves though, as Wren said he won't be "going outrageous salary-wise" on free agents. The team will be "looking for premium players," but Wren cautions they're not looking to add a player to the team as much as they are looking to add value. If they feel that adding two players can give them more than one premium name, they'll pursue that route instead.
  • Jair Jurrjens' situation is different from Tommy Hanson's, in Wren's mind. Wren spoke more definitely of Hanson's future with the team than that of Jurrjens. The Braves "will have a determination" on Jurrjens' future this winter. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM in 2012 and is a non-tender candidate for 2013 in the mind of MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
  • Wren confirmed that the entire coaching staff will be offered the opportunity to return to the team.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Fusco, Thome, Cubs, Jeter

On this date in 1998, former New York Highlander and St. Louis Brown Red Hoff passed away. At 107 years, four months, and nine days old, the left-handed pitcher had the longest life span of any player in Major League history, out-living his closest competition by more than five years. He pitched to a 2.49 ERA in 83 innings from 1911-1915, but never played after serving in World War I.

Here are a few interesting links from around the blogosphere…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Braves, David Ross Agree On Two-Year Extension

3:28pm: Ross will make $1.625MM in 2011 and the same amount in 2012, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (via Twitter). That's a total of $3.25MM for the two seasons. Rosenthal reports (via Twitter) that Ross can earn $300K more through incentives. The catcher makes $50K for starting 50 games behind the plate and earns an additional $50K when he reaches 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 starts. 

12:05pm: The Braves agreed to a two-year extension with catcher David Ross worth more than $3MM, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Ross would've been eligible for free agency after this season, as he's finishing up a two-year, $3MM deal signed in December of '08.

Ross has done a fine job as Brian McCann's backup in Atlanta, hitting .272/.378/.447 over 244 plate appearances.  The 33-year-old has also gunned down almost half of attempted base-stealers.