Cody Ross wants to return to the Giants in 2012

Via Hank Schulman, Cody Ross wants to sign with the Giants this offseason. Schulman has exchanged emails with Ross, and Ross has said:

“I have talked to them briefly, but no negotiations have taken place. They have interest and so do i. Hoepfully we can get something done.”

Ross’ season (.240/.325/.405), which I recently reviewed, wasn’t particularly impressive — but he was certainly of value (especially with the 49 walks he drew in 461 plate appearances). As I speculated before, the money Ross makes this offseason will be largely dictated by whether or not teams still believe he can play a passable centerfield. Considering that the Giants currently have a gap there, and that Brandon Belt and Nate Schierholtz unofficially enter 2012 as starting LF and RF (respectively), it’d make a lot of sense for the Giants to pursue him.

Schulman believes that the Giants will only bring back Ross for some figure smaller than the $5.3MM that he earned this season. If that is the case, it’s quite possible Ross ends up somewhere else. The free agent market for centerfielders this offseason is quite thin, which works to his advantage.

If the Giants don’t intend to hand Ross an everyday job, a platoon with Andres Torres would make a ton of sense. Ross destroys southpaws (career .282/.349/.563), but is pretty much Torres’ equivalent when it comes to hitting RHPs (nearly identical career OPS splits). In that case, Torres is of higher value (because of his superior baserunning and defense).

Anyway, I predicted a few days ago that Ross would not return with the Giants next season, and I still believe that to be the case.

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20 thoughts on “Cody Ross wants to return to the Giants in 2012

  1. Jeez, the team couldn’t hit a lick and you want to bring back Torres and Ross? Your use of career split numbers for Ross seems to miss the point. LAST YEAR his line against lefties was .234 BA/.336 OBP/.362 SLG. Those numbers suck. Even his career numbers are just average, a .349 OBP does not impress. Ross turns 31 this year, so we can expect these numbers to actually decline. Torres turns 34 in January and his career line is .244 BA/.318 OBP/.403 SLG, terrible numbers. Neither of these players should even be on the roster of a playoff team. Torres is of more value because of his speed and his defense, as you pointed out, and also for his lower salary. But I’d much rather sign Josh Willingham and live with him being below average in CF, at least he can hit, and he’ll be cheaper than the Torres-Ross tandem, and it would free up a roster spot.

    • Willingham doesn’t play CF. He really shouldn’t even play LF, he is a very bad defensive player. He will get a 2 year 16MM contract at the minimum, meaning he will not be cheaper than a Ross/Torres tandem. If Sabean gets involved that number could balloon. Ross/Torres is a sensible suggestion for a one year stopgap in Center, as opposed to 2 or more years of Coco Crisp, who does play CF, when he’s not hurt.

    • 1) Career numbers have far more predictive value than one season of splits. In a single season, you’ll see some oddities in splits that are a function of small sample size, and don’t accurately reflect the true talent level of the player. In this case, I think it’s an absolute given that Ross posts an OPS north of, say, .850 against LHPs next year.

      2) A .750 OPS for a centerfielder is actually quite good. I’m fairly certain that NL CFs posted a collective OPS lower than .700 this year (average NL hitter OPS’d .710)

    • 3) 31 is actually right at the top of a typical batter aging curve. This is to say, we would expect Ross’ numbers to reach (or remain) at their peak next season, if he ages normally.

      4) Josh Willingham is not a centerfielder, nor is he even really an adequate defensive outfielder. You might as well put Pat Burrell in CF.

      5) Willingham will most certainly be more expensive than Ross/Torres.

    • But they WERE on a play off team! And a World Series team! It’s not like Torres and Ross were the ONLY TWO players on the team last year who didn’t hit! In fact they didnt’ hit as a team! You can’t blame it on any one or two people. The only players who held up their end of the deal was the pitchers!!!! I love Ross and Torres for their heart and spirit. I love Torres’ defense and to watch him run the bases.

  2. I like keeping Ross, but at or below his 2011 salary. If he really wants to stay with the Giants, give him a 2 year deal for $9M, $5M in 2012, $4M in 2013. He is a very good bench player.

    ATT requires good defense. While he is not as good as Torres, he is a good defensive outfielder (better than someone like Burrell or Barry Bonds at the end of his career).

    If the free agent market for CF’s is strong, let him go to another team. Keeping or losing Cody Ross is not one of the key decisions for the SF Giants this year.

  3. Giving up the Giants’ first-round draft choice for anyone–including Willingham and Cuddyer–for a free agent is, I believe, nutty, unless the f.a. is named Reyes or Pujols. Since neither of them would affect CF, Ross would make some sense as a projected platoon player and/or fourth outfielder.

  4. What not try Nate in centerfield. He’s fast and covers right field well and he has a gun. He’d have a lot more opportunities to gun down baserunners in CF and many more wouldn’t even try to score from 2nd base to avoid being thrown out at home.

  5. Ross? Torres? Gotta be kidding. Andres still believes he’s a middle-of-order power guy, and Ross parlayed a terrific 2010 NLCS into a contract he otherwise didn’t merit. Is Sabean really gonna be seduced into paying him again?

  6. Ross cannot play CF. It’s not just a matter of pedestrian speed, maybe a notch faster than over-the-hill Rowand. He doesn’t possess CF instincts for tracking fly balls. His route to the ball is not MLB level in CF — if it were, do you think the Giants would not have put him out there? Torres struggled mightily at the plate from start to finish……Ross isn’t the answer. Of course, the other name you hear frequently they are considering in their price range is Coco Crisp — please stop. There’s many reasons why he’s been moved around the League so often. Mostly, one can never get over the feeling the team can do better. Go Giants!

  7. For the Giants we are speaking of here – Cody Ross “49 walks he drew in 461 plate appearances” – Are you kidding, you think this is a good stat?

    Pat Burrell had 33 walks in just 183 plate appearances in 2011

    Pat Burrell also had 47 walks in only 282 plate appearances in 2010.

    Now what was that again, Ross had only 49 walks in 461 plate appearances….Get real!

    • Ross posted a walk rate that was a good notch above average.

      Pat Burrell is very good at drawing walks. This is a fact that I’m sure most people are aware of. Your point being?

  8. Sign Sizemore to one yr deal as well as Torres as a fourth OF. Ross will ask too much with the thin CF market. UNLESS Ross decides to pull a pat Burrell and sing with the giants at a discount price than get rid of Torres. But u hardly see that now a days

  9. Neither Ross nor Torres should see major playing time with the Giants next year. I had hoped that Brown would have shown more in the AFL but he hasn’t. If he shows something in ST I would give him a chance to be the regular CF. His speed and defense would be a plus. I know everyone says look what Belt did when brought up too soon but you can’t compare apples and oranges. Some rookies are ready at 20 and some are not. Don’t hold back Brown because of Belt. Besides, Brown is 23 now and will be 24 next season. I just can’t see spending 8 million or more for a platoon of two has beens (or never were’s). I would rather try Nate in center or Beltran if he can still play there and is affordable. At least we can count on some production from Nate and very good production from Beltran.

  10. I think the Giants should invest in Torres. Cody is okay but Torres brings more of an offensive threat when on base. He creates runs what the Giants need. Defensively Torres as a good as anyone in the Bigs.

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