Originally written on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 1/24/12

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Boston had maintained an interest in Ross throughout the signing season, but pounced after his asking price dropped significantly -- initially, he was seeking a three-year deal -- and after left fielder Carl Crawford underwent surgery last week to address an arthritic condition in his left wrist. 

They also acted after trading infielder Marco Scutaroand his $6 million salary to the Colorado Rockies, which freed up the money they privately said they needed to have before making additional upgrades. 

Ross’s signing does not mean the Sox have abandoned their pursuit of adding another starting pitcher. They remain in discussions with free agent Roy Oswalt, though a team source cautioned they are exploring other options as well. Barring a trade for someone like White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd, there does not appear to be another option as attractive as Oswalt, who could prove a bonanza if he stays healthy. 

ESPNBoston | Sox add OF with White House experience

First, the pluses.

Cherington got Ross at an apparent bargain of one year, $3 million. With the thriftiness being shown on Yawkey Way, this has to be considered.

Second, Ross appears to be someone who can be flexible, as he will be expected to platoon with Ryan Sweeney in right, and then play possibly even less when Ryan Kalish is ready.

But there are some minuses to this deal as well. For one, if we freed up $6 million of Marco Scutaro to improve other places, is it really smart to spend half of that on essentially a 4th outfielder? Ross comes with the reputation of a lefty masher -- he has a lifetime .912 OPS against southpaws -- but last year he was under .700 against them. Is this an aberration, or are his skills starting to deteriorate?

Alex Speier pointed out yesterday that the Red Sox actually gained $8 million in breathing room for luxury tax purposes (I won't bore you with the math; go read his article about it). In that case, we theoretically have another $5 million to spend. I have trouble believing Roy Oswalt would sign for that, and I don't know that there's anyone out there who's all that valuable beyond Roy.

So now the $170 million team has two platoons at very important defensive positions (at Fenway), an injured left fielder, about 15 question marks in the starting rotation, and a very much unsettled bullpen. Meanwhile, the Yankees and Rays are set for repeat seasons, and the Blue Jays are quietly terrifying. I'm not trying to take this all out on Ross -- he'll probably be a perfectly adequate addition -- but the Sox don't appear to be solving their biggest problems. I would have rather seen them take their chances with a Sweeney/Darnell McDonald platoon for a few months and have more money to flash at Oswalt than potentially eliminate themselves from his bidding just to get the slight upgrade that Ross represents over Darnell.

ESPNBoston | Cody Ross, Red Sox agree | Herald | Cody Ross agrees to sign with Red Sox | Globe | Cody Ross says hello, Red Sox fans | CSNNE | With money to spend, Red Sox sign Ross, target pitching


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