8:44pm: Ross is so early in his surgery rehab that his progress wasn’t a factor, GM A.J. Preller tells AJ Cassavell of MLB.com (links to Twitter). San Diego is open to a return, at a lower price. Obviously, a trade didn’t come together, but Preller says that discussions were explored.
7:18pm: The Padres have non-tendered righty Tyson Ross and five other players, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. Also cut loose were Alexi Amarista, Jon Edwards, Erik Johnson, Jose Pirela and Hector Sanchez.
Ross, 29, easily becomes the most prominent player to be non-tendered this year. Excellent as he has been when healthy, he missed virtually all of 2016 and is still working back from shoulder surgery.
Still, the wide assumption had been that San Diego would roll the dice on Ross returning to form, perhaps hoping he’d emerge as a trade candidate as soon as the spring — or, if not, by the mid-season market. After all, he compiled a 3.03 ERA over 391 2/3 innings in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, with a strong 9.4 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9.
Ross is typically a very strong groundball pitcher, with a lifetime 56.0% mark. But his velocity had been falling of late, and then the shoulder issues arose in full force. While it seemed at various times as if he’d make it back in 2016, after making just a single start (on Opening Day), he ultimately required thoracic outlet surgery in mid-October.
Given the risk — and, perhaps, the unknown medical reports the team has received — perhaps the move isn’t as surprising as it seems at first glance. MLBTR projected Ross to repeat his $9.6MM salary from a year ago, and that’s no small amount to stake on a single season. Still, organizations searching for upside on a thin market will no doubt take a long look at a pitcher who’s a top-of-the-rotation piece when healthy.
Among the other players, Amarista ($1.6MM projection) and Sanchez ($900K) were also eligible. They’ll also save the team money; San Diego already parted with Derek Norris and his projected $4.0MM salary earlier today via trade.
The others will mostly depart to open roster space. All came with questions. Edwards, a converted outfielder, has a big arm but threw just one competitive inning last year. Johnson, who came over in the James Shields trade, underwent Tommy John surgery in early October. And Pirela was once a highly regarded prospect, but hasn’t stayed healthy and didn’t hit much last year at Triple-A.