The Red Sox have been mostly quiet leading up to Friday's 4 pm trade deadline, but they have not been as quiet when it comes to what they are looking for. Young, controllable pitching is the target, and it's what you'll be hearing Boston pine for until the deadline passes. As of Friday morning, according to Jerry Crasnick, they are talking to the Padres about Tyson Ross.
Ross, a 28-year-old right-hander, won't be a free agent until 2018. He owns a 112 ERA+ with the Padres over three years, in which he's made 69 starts and thrown 448 innings overall. Ross has struck out over a batter per inning with San Diego, and is at 9.7 for the year in 2015, but he's also a ground ball guy with a career 56 percent rate and 63 percent this season. Yes, that has resulted in a whole lot of walks -- Ross has 4.3 per nine on the year and 3.6 during his Padres career -- but it's not so much because he can't throw strikes and more because he focuses on keeping the ball down to induce those grounders.
And yes, he's worse on the road than at Petco, but he's still only allowed a 692 OPS and 3.50 ERA there with the Padres over the last three seasons: let's not act like he's been wrecked away from home.
His ERA+ is "just" 105 this season, but he's also dealt with an ever-changing Padres' infield behind him, one that is often not very good as it has featured Yangervis Solarte at second or third, Jedd Gyorko at second, and Clint Barmes ord Alexi Amarista at short far too often -- if you think Pablo Sandoval's off defensive season has been an issue, trying watching that season happen at three positions some nights. Given his career work, Ross' current .334 batting average on balls in play is more likely to be bad luck than an ill omen.
Ross probably won't be cheap, but he would be an upgrade, and he would be around for a few years yet. Heading into the 2015-2016 offseason with a rotation of Clay Buchholz, Tyson Ross, Wade Miley, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Rick Porcello is very promising, especially if they can figure out why Porcello keeps throwing the ball up in the zone. There is also nothing stopping the Sox from replacing one of those five with another, better pitcher in addition to bringing Ross aboard -- they certainly have the prospects to make more than one move, and could even use someone like Henry Owens in the 2016 rotation when the time is right.
Assuming, of course, Owens isn't part of the package to San Diego that gets Ross to the Sox in the first place. Ross will definitely cost the Red Sox at least one of their top prospects -- maybe even Manuel Margot. This is likely unavoidable, especially when the Cubs have either been told they need to give up or are dangling Javier Baez for Ross, but he could very well be worth that price. He's not a rental, and he's not an ace, but the 2015 Red Sox rotation had (and still has) far more problems than the lack of an ace in it. Someone like Ross would help, and not insubstantially, either.
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Update 12:15 pm: Interest in Tyson Ross might reportedly lead to a three-team deal between the Red Sox, Padres, and Cubs, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. We've broken down what that might mean for Boston here.