Cody Ross and his agent approached the Giants on the very first day of Spring Training to discuss a contract extension, reports Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Ross is eager to sign a multiyear deal with the club, even if it means possibly passing up a free agent contract elsewhere next winter.
"I've let them know that's what I want," Ross said. "Free agency would be cool to experience, but I know what this team is about and where it's going. We have a great thing here, and I want to stay."
It's not surprising that Ross would want to remain in San Francisco, both for the long-term stability and due to his performance since joining the team. The Marlins let Ross go to the Giants on a waiver claim in August, and Ross posted an .819 OPS in 82 plate appearances down the stretch. The outfielder then exploded in the postseason, hitting .294/.390/.686 with five home runs and capturing the NLCS MVP award as the Giants went on to win the World Series.
Ross obviously has no regrets with how things turned out last summer, though he admitted to being upset over being let go by Florida.
"It's almost like a slap in the face," Ross said. "I was willing to sign an extension there even though it's not the greatest place to play. They were building a nucleus for when their new stadium opened. I was comfortable there and liked it. You pour your heart and soul out for an organization for 4 1/2 years, and all of a sudden they're like, 'See ya.' "
Ross, arbitration-eligible for the last time this winter, signed a one-year, $6.3MM deal for 2011 and will be a free agent next winter. As Baggarly points out, San Francisco's outfield depth and Ross' average career numbers (a .788 OPS in seven Major League seasons) will likely mean that the club will wait for the offseason to discuss a possible extension, though Giants VP Bobby Evans told Ross' agent that they will continue negotiations later in the spring.
It wouldn't be the first time the Giants have given a multiyear deal to a veteran, but given the club's spotty-at-best track record with these contracts, it's best for the champs to wait to see how Ross performs in 2011 before locking him up. Baggarly notes that San Francisco's claim for Ross was made primarily to prevent him from going to the Padres, so it's not like the Giants acquired Ross with the intent on making him a long-term answer in right field. (In a separate item, Baggarly notes that San Diego actually didn't put in a claim of their own for Ross.)