Willingham received a three-year, $21 million free agent deal from the Twins. Ross, meanwhile, took a one-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox, opting to pass on two-year offers that would have given him more than $3 million per year (but less than $5 million per year) in hopes of going to a favorable hitting environment (a departure from Florida and San Francisco, both of whom play in parks and divisions that tend to be hostile to big power numbers) where he could boost his numbers in anticipation of another run at free agency following the 2012 season.
The strategy paid off, as Ross slammed 22 homers in 130 games while hitting .267 with a .326 OBP, .481 slugging mark and .807 OPS, with his OBP and OPS both ranking as career-best marks for any season in which he had at least 200 plate appearances. That line closely resembled the one that Willingham delivered with the A’s (albeit in more challenging hitting environment) prior to getting his three-year deal from Minnesota.
“I felt like this was a perfect spot for me to get my value back up and basically I rolled the dice on a one-year deal,” Ross said of Boston. “Hopefully it pays off.”
OK, maybe it isn't Sandy, maybe it's just the time of year. But there is not much going on out there about the Olde Towne Team.
Which leads us back to Cody Ross speculation. I feared/expected this is what he would want. As usual with free agency, it's a tough higher than I'd like to pay for a guy with a low OBP, but we might not have much choice. Sure, it's better to get Cody for two years, maybe $10-12 million, but what if it's 3/21 or let him go?
I think I would still bring him back. We've found that it's important that the Sox have a few gamers on the roster, and Cody Ross is a gamer. I know it's a hacky bit of analysis, but I think it's necessary in Boston. He won't be fazed if things start to go bad -- but things won't go as badly as they did the last 13 months. I think he's part of the solution.
It also might keep them from making a bigger mistake -- read, Josh Hamilton. A quick signing of Ross (not to mention Ortiz), might help keep the fan base from freaking out, and I don't trust the ownership to react properly if the fan base does.