Diamondbacks reach three-year, $26 million deal with Cody Ross

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UPDATE: Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports that Ross got a three-year, $26 million contract. The deal includes a club option for 2016 which carries a $1 million buyout. Not a bad deal for someone who made $3 million in 2012.

12:01 PM: According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Cody Ross has reached agreement with the Diamondbacks on a three-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

This is a pretty surprising destination for Ross, as he hasn’t been linked to the Diamondbacks at all this winter. The latest we heard was a meeting with the Rangers earlier this week.

The Diamondbacks already have Justin Upton, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton in-house, so the addition of Ross is a bit superfluous on the surface. However, general manager Kevin Towers now figures to step up his efforts to trade an outfielder, likely Kubel. And I suppose it’s possible Upton could be dealt if they are blown away by an offer.

Ross, who turns 32 tomorrow, batted .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs, 81 RBI and an .807 OPS in 130 games this past season with the Red Sox. He enjoyed most of his success at Fenway Park, but he should have a decent chance at a comparable follow-up playing half of his games at the hitter-friendly Chase Field.

Max Muncy and Matt Beaty step on Rhys Hoskins’ ankle on consecutive plays

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In the 10th inning of Game 4 of the NLCS last year, infielder Manny Machado — then with the Dodgers — stepped on the foot of Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Aguilar, understandably, wasn’t happy about that and both teams’ benches spilled onto the field. It was a continuation of a tumultuous series for Machado, who was also vilified for not hustling and sliding hard into Orlando Arcia twice. The Machado-Aguilar dust-up served as a referendum on Machado’s character until he finally signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres.

Recently, Machado criticized the analysts on MLB Network for holding double standards. Dan Plesac and Eric Byrnes argued with Greg Amsinger about the Jake Marisnick collision at home plate with catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Amsinger felt Marisnick was in the wrong; Plesac and Byrnes defended Marisnick. On Instagram, Machado said if he had been the one who bulldozed Lucroy, Plesac and Byrnes wouldn’t have defended him, in part because he is Latino. Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones said earlier this year that Machado would “one hundred percent” be treated differently if he were white.

With that context in mind, something interesting happened in the fourth inning of Thursday afternoon’s game between the Dodgers and Phillies. Leading off the top of the fourth inning against Aaron Nola, Max Muncy grounded out to shortstop Jean Segura. As Muncy crossed the first base bag, he stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle. On the next play, Matt Beaty beat out an infield single hit to third baseman Maikel Franco, shifted up the middle. As Beaty crossed the first base bag ahead of the throw, he tripped over Hoskins’ ankle. MLB.com hasn’t posted video of the incidents yet, but here’s a look at both plays from @jomboy_ on Twitter:

We rarely see runners tripping over the feet of first basemen, but here we have it happening on back-to-back plays. Hoskins’ footwork around the bag was textbook given the situations. The commentators on the exclusive YouTube broadcast gave the runners the benefit of the doubt. Other than that, there has surprisingly been little discussion of these plays. A July 18 game isn’t exactly Game 4 of the NLCS, but look at how much conversation the Marisnick-Lucroy play generated and that was less than two weeks ago. These plays deserve a “Was it dirty?” conversation.

One wonders what the conversation would have looked like if it had been black or Latino runners stepping on Hoskins’ ankle on back-to-back plays. Would they have gotten the immediate benefit of the doubt like Muncy and Beaty? Would malicious intent have been ascribed to them instead? That, really, is Machado’s point about the double-standard applied to non-white players. It doesn’t excuse any of his obviously terrible behavior, but if we’re going to criticize players for bad behavior, we should do so evenly and fairly. Muncy and Beaty deserve criticism for their poor, sloppy, dangerous base running. Frankly, Major League Baseball should consider fines and/or suspensions. Machado was fined for stepping on Aguilar.