Monday, January 23, 2012
Updated: January 24, 4:04 AM ET
Cody Ross, Red Sox agree
ESPN.com news services
Cody Ross says he has agreed to sign with the Boston Red Sox, giving them an experienced hitter with postseason success on his résumé to help replace J.D. Drew in right field.
The Red Sox have reached an agreement with the free agent outfielder on a one-year, $3 million contract, a baseball source told ESPN.com. Ross told The Associated Press in a text message late Monday that the deal won't be finalized until he takes a physical.
Ross figures to be given every chance to leap ahead of Darnell McDonald in a potential platoon in right field and will come to camp hoping to convince new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine that he should play every day ahead of Ryan Sweeney. He also will provide much-needed protection with left fielder Carl Crawford uncertain to be ready when the regular season begins, having had wrist surgery earlier this month.
Ross, 31, is a .261 career hitter with 100 homers in eight seasons with Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati, Florida and San Francisco. His career highlight came during the 2010 postseason, when he won the National League Championship Series MVP award and played a key role in the San Francisco Giants' World Series run after they picked him up off waivers in August. He batted .240 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs for the Giants last season while playing at least 22 games at every outfield position.
Ross' deal also includes unspecified incentive bonuses based on plate appearances, a source told ESPN.com.
He expressed his thanks on Twitter to San Francisco fans and wrote: "Looking fwd to meeting the #redsoxnation fans!!"
The right-handed hitting Ross and newly acquired Sweeney provide the Red Sox with a righty-lefty tandem to fill right field. Drew is a free agent after completing a $70 million, five-year contract. He played only 81 games last year, batting .222 with four homers and 22 RBIs in an injury-plagued season.
With the Red Sox, Ross would join a team in transition after manager Terry Francona was let go and replaced by Valentine. Boston went 7-20 in September last year, missing the playoffs with a record collapse.
Now, Valentine's roster is taking shape.
Late last month, the Red Sox landed a new man for the back of the bullpen when they acquired All-Star closer Andrew Bailey and Sweeney from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Josh Reddick, infield prospect Miles Head and minor league pitcher Raul Alcantara.
Reddick spent much of last season filling in for Drew and occasionally Crawford.
Bailey gives the Red Sox a reliable ninth-inning reliever to replace Jonathan Papelbon, who signed a $50 million, four-year contract as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies in November.
Last January, Ross avoided salary arbitration and signed a $6.3 million, one-year contract with San Francisco.
It was a hefty raise for the former kid rodeo clown, who earned $4.45 million in 2010 and joined the Giants on a waiver claim from Florida on Aug. 22 that year.
Ross then became one of the Giants' most reliable players -- and a fan favorite -- down the stretch and during an improbable title run. The franchise won its first championship since 1954 and first since moving west in 1958.
He hit three of his five postseason home runs during the NLCS against Philadelphia, and the Giants won in six games against the favored Phillies as Ross received MVP honors. He drove in 10 runs during the 2010 postseason, two in San Francisco's five-game World Series win over the Texas Rangers.
But Ross -- son of a team roper and steer wrestler -- never found a steady groove in 2011, and the Giants failed to return to the playoffs.
It became clear the team was going in a different direction this winter. In November, general manager Brian Sabean acquired Melky Cabrera in a trade with the Royals.
ESPN.com senior baseball writer Jerry Crasnick and The Associated Press contributed to this report.