On Monday, with Cody Ross still a free agent, now one able to negotiate with all 30 teams, we assumed that he was holding out for at least three years at around $8 million per season. Obviously, since Boston hadn't signed him, they weren't thrilled with the proposition, and were waiting to see how negotiations with the other teams went in order to gauge whether or not they would remain involved with Ross. Turns out that those assumptions were on the mark, if Buster Olney's sources are accurate:
In Cody Ross's talks with the Red Sox, his side was looking for something in the 3-year, $25 million range.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 6, 2012
Three years at $25 million total is just a hair over $8 million per season, at $8.33 million. It's confirmation that yes, this is how things are going down with Ross and the Red Sox at the moment. It's confirmation, too, that there's a very good chance Cody Ross will not be on the Boston Red Sox in 2013 or beyond, because it's hard to envision one of the other 29 teams not handing him the contract he desires.
A little less than a year ago, Michael Cuddyer signed with the Colorado Rockies for three years at $31.5 million. Josh Willingham inked a three-year, $21 million contract with the Twins the same off-season. No one thinks of either of those two teams as big spenders, but with the amount of money out there in Major League Baseball right now, nearly every team in the majors can sign someone like Ross for a year too long or a few million too many. That means the Red Sox are competing with a whole lot of others, and if someone is already willing to pay up, he has no reason to return to Boston to rebuild his value at Fenway Park, as was the goal in 2012. At that point, his value is already rebuilt.
The Red Sox might get more out of Ross for their money thanks to the marriage of his swing to Fenway Park, but this is one of those situations where just because Boston now has the money, doesn't mean they should spend it like this. Ross, on the right deal, is very appealing. Two years at $8 million each wouldn't be bad at all. A mutual option for 2015 also wouldn't be a bad thing, as it could turn out that Ross and the Red Sox make a very happy couple at $8 million per season. Three guaranteed, though, for a player who has platoon splits both in handedness and depending on venue, heading into his mid-30s... that might be pushing it just a bit, especially when there are other windows to shop in.
It's not impossible that he returns to Boston. Maybe there isn't a fit there for anyone, and there are plenty of other outfield options on the market. If Angel Pagan is willing to sign for fewer years or less money, or he simply takes a job with one of the teams going hard after Ross, then the market changes, and maybe Boston's offer -- whatever it might have been -- becomes more appealing for Ross at that stage.