Texas inked the 30-year-old Ross to a one-year, $6MM pact last winter after he was non-tendered by the Padres. The hope was that he and fellow former San Diego rotation mate Andrew Cashner would bounce back and help form a quality starting five.
Though Cashner has overcome middling peripherals to provide 125 2/3 innings of 3.44 ERA ball, Ross has faltered. In ten starts since fully rehabbing from thoracic outlet surgery, he owns a 7.04 ERA with 35 strikeouts against 36 walks over just 46 frames.
Ross’s struggles have been rather all-encompassing. He is averaging just 91.7 mph on his fastball after sitting around 94 for most of his career. Ross is generating swings and misses on just 6.2% of his pitches — nearly half his rate from the prior four seasons. And he has permitted more home runs and generated fewer groundballs than ever.
With Texas still hanging in the AL Wild Card picture, the club will hope that Martinez can provide a boost. He, too, has struggled this year in the majors, carrying a 5.38 ERA with 2.24 homers per nine innings over his 80 1/3 frames thus far. He is sporting a 2.15 ERA at Triple-A, though that’s over a shorter sample and comes in spite of a less-than-inspiring combination of 5.5 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and a 43.1% groundball rate.
Looking ahead a bit, Martinez will also aim to firm up his chances of taking a rotation spot entering 2018. Texas faces quite a few questions on its staff, with Cashner and Ross set to hit the open market and Yu Darvish already pitching with the Dodgers after being traded this summer. Martinez will join Martin Perez, A.J. Griffin, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx as potential options along with Cole Hamels, but that group doesn’t inspire much confidence at all based upon recent results.