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.
The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.
Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.