Everybody remembers that jump step, home-run hop that was the haunting image of the 2010 NLCS…well aside from Juan Uribe’s go-ahead home run in Game 6 or Ryan Howard getting caught looking at the final pitch that propelled the Giants to the World Series. But in the middle of that series was Cody Ross, the waiver wire pickup that hit .350 with three home runs and five RBIs in the six-game series.
Now, Ross is likely the leading candidate for the Phillies outfield. With roughly two months remaining before pitchers and catchers report, Ross is one of few remaining corner outfielders that could fill the last offseason need the Phillies have.
On Saturday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Phillies had “intensified their pursuit” of the free-agent outfielder.
There is nothing ideal about the remaining outfield market. There is no true power hitter left. There is not even a 30-home-run guy out there. So perhaps the best the Phillies can do is sign Cody Ross.
Ross, unlike Nick Swisher, is solely a right-handed hitter. Swisher is a switch hitter and his power is greater from the left side. The Phillies need power from the right side of the plate. Swisher would also cost the Phillies a first-round compensation pick – the 16th overall pick in next year’s draft. It is the highest the Phillies would select since 2006.
Ross, unlike Alfonso Soriano, won’t cost more than the contract he signs. No compensation pick, no prospects via trade, just whatever money the team is willing to offer.
So if the Phillies offered a similar deal to what Shane Victorino got in Boston – Ross’ former team – they could backload the deal to increase it’s worth later while paying Ross enough in 2013 to keep the total payroll under the luxury tax.
But Ross would offer more to the Phillies than another affordable contract.
I like players like Cody Ross and Michael Young. Why you may ask? Because players like Ross and Young fit the same description as Chase Utley.
If there was anything that frustrated me last season, it was the lack of heart, hustle and emotion on the field. It didn’t seem to be there for a good part of the season or completely lacking from certain players. With Young and the potential addition of Ross, you’ll never have to question the amount of effort they give on the field.
I’ve seen a lot of negative reaction to a potential Ross signing. And I would really like to make the point that if the only reason you oppose such a move is because you’re still holding a grudge from 2010, then get over it and accept the fact that Ross may soon become a Phillie.
Don’t be afraid to deny that Ross is exactly what the Phillies are looking for. He’s a gritty, hard-nosed player who plays the game right. You can never have too many players like that on your roster.
Cody Ross, or any outfielder the Phillies sign or trade for at this point, is going to be the difference maker in 2013. The difference makers, the ones who will determine the success of the upcoming season, are already here and have been here for years.
But that’s another story. With the Phillies looking for that last piece of the puzzle, and possibly trying to do it at as low a cost as possible, Ross may be the perfect fit.