Cody Ross badly wanted a multiyear deal as a free agent over the winter. The Red Sox probably wish they had given one.
Ross’s 16th homer of the season was a three-run shot off White Sox closer Addison Reed in the bottom of the ninth Thursday, giving the Red Sox all of their runs in a 3-1 win.
It was Ross’s third three-run homer in two days. He’s scored 44 runs and driven in 50 despite being limited to 63 games this season. Last year, he had 14 homers, 54 runs scored and 52 RBI in 121 games for the Giants.
As true to his usual norms, most of Ross’s production has come against lefties, as he’s hit them at an outstanding .328/.410/.836 clip with nine homers this season. However, he’s been plenty solid while getting more time against righties that originally expected, with Wednesday’s homer giving him seven in 153 at-bats and raising his average to .248.
Ross has also become a fan favorite at Fenway, with 11 of his homers coming at home. He seems to like Boston as much as it likes him, so one wonders if the Red Sox will try sign him to an extension before the end of the season. He’s making a modest $3 million this year, down from $6.3 million in his final year with the Giants. If he’s willing to do a two-year, $12 million deal, the Red Sox could forget the luxury-tax ramifications and go ahead and lock him up.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.
Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.
It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.