Tuesday Rockpile: The Cody Ross Fit

The hot stove season is good for bloggers, nerds and baseball junkies, especially the ones who appreciate baseball more from the statistical angle. At no other time is it so important to shake off our old lessons of English class to parse the nuance of our native language. It is very easy to misunderstand words, extrapolate and spread completely false rumors. One has to be careful.

For example, here is something Buster Olney tweeted yesterday morning:

The Rockies are in contract talks with Cody Ross, who presumably would help them create depth for expected trade of Seth Smith.

It is impossible to know whether Olney took great care to be completely accurate with his language, but the four most important words in that tweet I have italicized you. 1) Are: meaning currently. Present. Could be future or past as well, but certainly right now. 2) In: preposition leading you to the subject. 3) Contract: in this case, a signed document making an employment agreement. 4) Talks: conversations, plural.

If Olney is correct, the Rockies people have had multiple conversations with the Cody Ross people about actually working at Coors Field. If my people in my past education knew anything, that suggests this courtship is more than a price check.

Troy Renck is on vacation now, so the Rockies have not had much coverage over the holidays. He chimed in from vacation with a largely speculative tweet that Colorado has long been interested in Ross, but only at the right price, which he believes to be a one-year deal.

Ross started the offseason asking for a three-year contract. If he didn't realize that was ridiculous then, he does now. Here's the thing about Ross: he would be a great fit for the Rockies. He's a right-handed bat with pop (the 10th highest 2011 ISO among remaining free agents). He can play all three outfield positions. He rakes at Coors Field, and would probably actually rake the warning track if you asked, because he is a nice guy. He's a good'ol'boy from New Mexico. And most importantly, he would get zero at-bats against Rockies pitchers. He'd be a great fit.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Cody Ross 121 405 54 97 25 0 14 52 49 96 5 2 .240 .325 .405

Except Michael Cuddyer. Dan O'Dowd already used a majority of the available dollars to sign an right-handed utfielder with pop, and the three most-cited weak areas (2B, 3B, SP) still have not received a notable upgrade. Ross would have fit this roster like a glove, except now O'Dowd has put a mitten on the roster. Ross would seemingly be superfluous, though trading Seth Smith (Todd Frazier please?) would certainly make it possible. One would think "contract talks" with Ross would require at least one offer for Seth Smith that O'Dowd would be prepared to accept. December rosterbation is dangerous, but if this series of swaps goes down, the outfield situation could look like this:

Starters: Carlos Gonzalez (LF), Dexter Fowler (CF), Michael Cuddyer (RF)

Bench: RH Cody Ross (LF, CF, RF), LH Charlie Blackmon (LF, RF, and CF in a pinch)

That would send Tyler Colvin, Jamie Hoffman and Tim Wheeler to AAA for a pretty strong relief core of lawn-runners. All three have options remaining, two, one and three respectively. One could play with the number of outfielders considering: Giambi is hardly an "infielder," Jordan Pacheco may be a catcher infielder or both, and Michael Cuddyer can play 1B/3B.

Ross would bring a .195 career ISO (all with a pitchers' park home ballpark), which would have clocked in only behind Tulo, Giambi, Cargo, and just behind Smith last year. He has a career .912 OPS vs LHP, which is better than Seth Smith's Coors' aided .881 career OPS vs RHP.

If there is a positive trade set up involving Seth Smith for a starting pitcher or 2B/3B, Cody Ross is a very solid target at the right price.

Coors Career Extrapolated to 400 AB G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Cody Ross 125 400 75 125 35 0 25 120 15 70 10 0 .313 .353 .588

Rockies feel bite of injury bug in 2011 | ColoradoRockies.com: News. Thomas Harding brings out the injury-ridden piece and also lists the top 5 reasons the Rockies fell apart last year. They are Ubaldo, CarGo's wrist, DLR's elbow, Jose Lopez/Ty Wigginton, and Ian Stewart. Notice all of those underperformers are gone, though Stewart's ranking of #5 is pretty low.

Yorvit Torrealba hit with 66-game suspension in Venezuela - The Denver Post You can't punch umpires, even in South America. See, we have the internet nowadays.

If you're looking for a reason to hate a Cody Ross signing, this might help:

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Cody Ross 121 405 54 97 25 0 14 52 49 96 5 2 .240 .325 .405
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - Ian Stewart 121 386 54 99 14 2 18 61 45 110 5 2 .256 .338 .443

Spooky...

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