UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that Ross will get a total of $6.2 million over the two years. It’s well-deserved raise for Ross, who just finished up a two-year, $3.25 million extension with the Braves.
8:37 AM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox have signed catcher David Ross to a two-year contract, pending a physical. Terms aren’t yet available.
Widely regarded as one of the best backup catchers in the game, Ross batted .256/.321/.449 with nine home runs, 23 RBI and a .770 OPS over 196 plate appearances with the Braves this season while throwing out 44 percent of attempted basestealers. The 35-year-old has 24 homers, 94 RBI and an .816 OPS in 663 plate appearances dating back to 2009.
As for Ross’ role with his new team, Rosenthal hears that the veteran backstop will be “more than a backup but not a starter.” Meanwhile, the signing provides the Red Sox with more flexibility to listen to trade offers for both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway. The Braves had interest in keeping Ross, especially with Brian McCann coming off shoulder surgery, but they’ll now have to look elsewhere.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.