Although free agent right-hander Tyson Ross threw just 5 1/3 innings last season and is on the mend from October thoracic outlet surgery, the vast majority of major league teams are interested in his services. Roughly 20 clubs are in on Ross, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman, who specifically names his previous team – the Padres – along with the Cubs, Rangers, Pirates and Indians as suitors.
The Padres non-tendered Ross at the outset of this month, but general manager A.J. Preller then revealed there’s “mutual interest” in a reunion between the two sides. However, Ross is reportedly seeking $9MM or more in guarantees, and the Padres were already unwilling to pay him a similar amount in arbitration (an estimated $9.6MM).
Since the Padres cut Ross, no team has been connected to the 29-year-old more than the Cubs. Chicago – which Heyman indicates has visited with Ross – nearly acquired him via trade in July 2015, when he was amid a three-year run as a front-line starter. From 2013-15, Ross posted a 3.07 ERA, 9.16 K/9, 3.48 BB/9 and 58.2 ground-ball rate over 516 2/3 frames, but San Diego elected against dealing him. That proved to be a mistake in hindsight, as Ross’ shoulder troubles kept him off the field last season after a truncated Opening Day start and ultimately led to the end of his Padres career (temporarily at least).
If healthy, Ross would slot into a Cubs rotation that’s currently set to feature Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Mike Montgomery. The reigning World Series champions could use another left-hander in their righty-packed bullpen, and adding Ross would perhaps enable them to shift Montgomery, a southpaw, to a relief role. Ross would have to recover first, of course, and Peter Gammons tweeted earlier this month that he should be OK by April.
The Rangers and Pirates have also been in the Ross chase since the Padres non-tendered him, though it’s difficult to imagine low-payroll Pittsburgh approaching his asking price. The Indians, whom FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal previously named as a possible landing spot for Ross, also aren’t known for spending. The Tribe’s run to the World Series proved lucrative, though, which could help them secure Ross.