Red Sox Sign David RossPosted: November 10, 2012
Yeah, it was kind of surprising to many fans. As Ken Rosenthal reported, David Ross signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox for $6.2M. It appears the Braves did not feel comfortable matching or exceeding the Red Sox offer.
First, don’t get mad at David Ross. You should never criticize athletes for moving or changing teams and taking the money or putting them self in a better spot to win or succeed. I will back the athlete 10 times out of 10 (yes, I’m pro LeBron). An athlete only has a limited amount of time to make his money. David Ross was a great player in his four years here, a fan favorite, but it is the nature of the beast. So if you choose to be mad at anyone, be mad at the Braves.
Second, I don’t even think as a fan you should be mad at the Braves. Ross played in Atlanta for four seasons making a grand total of $6.25M. In is next two years with the Red Sox he will be making $6.2M. If you look back, getting Ross for the prices we did was an awesome deal for the Braves. In fact, I still don’t know how he signed his previous two-year deal for as cheap as he did. If anything you should applaud the Braves and Ross for the past four years because he gave the team tremendous value for the amount of his contract while being the best back-up catcher in baseball. While the $3.1M per season still might be a good deal for Ross, I would have been hesitant for a backup catcher who with be 36 and 37 years of age.
It does seem that Ross is hitting the back-end of a typical player aging curve. The past four seasons his walk rate has gone down, his strikeouts have risen above 30%, his AVG & OBP have gone down, and his total contributions in offense have gone down, wOBA and wRC+. I’m not necessarily using that as an excuse to justify this as a good move, but you are seeing aging with Ross. I would expect his numbers to continue to go down steadily the next two years.
Another thing with Ross was his BABIP. From 2003-2008 his highest single season BABIP was .301, averaging a .257 BABIP during that time. Then, he signed with the Braves. From 2009-2012 his *lowest* was this seasons .330, while averaging .347 in that time. Could Atlanta have just gotten really lucky with Ross? It is an interesting question which would need more research, but it may have been that they just happened to catch Ross at four really good/lucky BABIP years. What if Ross finally returns closer to his .287 career BABIP or if it dropped below that, he wouldn’t look nearly as valuable. I think it’s an interesting question and something I will definitely be following in 2013.
There are other parts that are harder to quantify with catching such as defense, pitch calling and handling a staff. By all accounts Ross was good at all three which definitely bring value. That is one of the parts I think the Braves will miss the most.
I don’t exactly know what is out there on the free agent market catching wise. Nothing will be as good as Ross. I do doubt the Braves did this in preparation to have Gattis or Bethancourt be the back up starting opening day and backup until McCann is ready. They will find another cheap backup catcher out there. They won’t put up the number Ross has the past four seasons, but heck, I wouldn’t even expect Ross to put up those numbers anymore.
Right now, good move for the Braves not throwing money at an aging catcher whose stats are noticeably declining. Do I wish the Braves were able to keep Ross, of course. But there comes a limit with every players where you just can’t afford to give away money that could be put to a better use. Teams like the Red Sox can afford to out spend for players they want, we’ve seen it for years. Only time will tell the real verdict. Ross’s time in Atlanta was awesome. Congrats to him for getting paid late in his career, he definitely deserved and earned it.
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