With Mike Aviles likely part of a shared arrangement at shortstop in a post-Marco Scutaro world, the Red Sox could use another lefty-masher in the outfield for depth and platoon purposes. Throw Carl Crawford's wrist surgery and the question marks surrounding Ryan Kalish's health in there, and that need is magnified further.
Enter Cody Ross, whose name basically vanished from the rumor mill after much suspected initial interest from various teams early on. According to Jerry Crasnick, the Red Sox are having an "ongoing dialogue" with Ross, but there is "nothing to report yet." That makes it sound as if nothing is close, but given the trade activity of the weekend and the money opened up by dealing Marco Scutaro, it's not a surprise to see Boston talking to someone about their outfield situation.
Crasnick also mentions that the Mets are interested in Ross, but as they already snagged the sworn enemy of left-handed pitchers everywhere in Scott Hairston, their financial limitations might keep them from nabbing the superfluous Ross.
Ross's overall numbers from the last few years aren't all that impressive -- .261/.323/.432 in 1,634 plate appearances -- but two things have kept him from his true potential. For one, he's spent his career in pitcher's parks -- that line above is actually good for a 101 OPS+. The second item is the amount of time he has spent facing right-handed pitchers, despite a severe platoon split that limits his value. Ross hits like a middle infielder against righties (.253/.313/.414) but like an All-Star against southpaws (.282/.349/.563). In 1,924 career plate appearances against righties, Ross has 166 extra-base hits, while against lefties, he has smacked 97 in just 759 trips to the plate. And, for emphasis, all the while making his home in pitcher-friendly confines.
For the right, late-January price, someone with Ross's skill-set has value to a team in Boston's position. He would give the Red Sox a full five outfielders in the majors, leaving Aviles alone to work at shortstop alongside Punto, and also back up Kevin Youkilis when necessary at third. Combine Ross with that last starting pitcher, and the Sox all of a sudden look like they squeezed more out of that Scutaro deal than just a pitcher with an option available.