Why the Reds should trade for Cody Ross

I know, FTH right? 

Cody Ross was one of the many who came through the revolving door that was the Reds roster back in '06.  Wayner picked him up from the Dodgers for a song and, after 5 memorable ABs with the club, quickly sold him to the Marlins for a few thousand JC Penney gift cards (he is reportedly a rabid admirer of their St John's Bay line).  He got 250 ABs with the Marlins and induced almost as many yawns.  '07 was a teaser year from Ross, as he only had 173 ABs due to a hamstring injury, but he really made good with what little time he had.  He posted a line of .335/.411/.653 in 66 games and played admirable defense at all 3 outfield positions.



In '08, Ross failed to match his Pujolsian production of the previous year, but still put up a respectable line of .260/.316/.488 in 461 ABs.  According to Justin, he was the second-most valuable CF in the National League, behind only Shane Victorino.  He posted a RAR of 23.1, FRAR of 8.5, and a Total Value of 32.1.  In case you were wondering, the soon-to-be free agent and all-around good guy Adam Dunn posted a Total Value of 23.8. He will be arb-eligible for the first time this winter and the Marlins may be looking to shed a few of their 16 arb-eligible players.  According to this post at MLBTraderumors the Marlins are looking to keep him, but perhaps the allure of a few intriguing prospects and the reduction of payroll could be enough to pry him loose. 

So those are the positives.  He's a right-handed high SLG-low OBP guy who rates as an above average center fielder.  But of course, that low OBP should set off alarms.  .316 (his lifetime is .324) is just a notch better than our favorite free-swinger Brandon Phillips.  This team has an issue getting on base as it is, and Ross would do little to remedy that.  And this whole exercise could be rendered moot if the Marlins are not interested in trading him at all.  So there is that as well.  And we cannot overlook the fact that he's had exactly one fully productive season in the major leagues.  Those are the negatives.

Ross in LF sounds much more palatable to me than the expensive (both in prospects and $$) soon-to-be free agent Matt Holliday and the expensive and soon-to-be old Magglio Ordonez.  He rates as a great defensive LF, though his OPS of ~.820 would be a bit below average.  All together though, he would be a solidly above average guy to have in our outfield. 

So what kind of trade package would it take to get Ross from the Marlins?  It certainly wouldn't take any of the players on our current ML roster, which is a big plus.  They won't be asking for Cueto.  I'm not even sure it would take any of our top 5 prospects, like Frazier, Stubbs, Valaika, or Soto.  They just sent Mike Jacobs to the Royals for an unproven and unspectacular middle reliever, so that should give us a bit of an indicator.  Though Ross is more valuable than Jacobs, I think a package of mid-tier prospects should get it done. 

Defense, in both the infield and outfield, has been one of the most damning problems for this team for a while now.  Ross would be a huge defensive upgrade in the outfield while holding his own with the stick.  He also would not be cost-prohibitive, as he stands to make a Corey Patterson wage this year and shouldn't cost us any of our most valuable prospects. This is something the Reds should seriously look into.


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