Tyson Ross, Texas Rangers potential offseason acquisition: The Rangers are looking for a starting pitcher in the trade market this offseason, and the San Diego Padres, who have several starting pitchers available to deal, and who are run by former Ranger amateur scouting guru A.J. Preller, seem like an obvious trade partner. We've talked about Ian Kennedy, who is on the block, but who the Rangers might pass on because he's only under team control for one year, and Jon Daniels has said the team wants to avoid one-year rentals. We've also talked about Andrew Cashner, who has a couple of years of team control left, but who is high risk and pricey.
And then there is Tyson Ross, a righthander who turns 28 in April, and the San Diego Padres pitcher who might be, like baby bear's porridge, just right.
Ross was a 2nd round draft pick of the Oakland A's in the 2008 draft, progressed up the ladder, and made it to the majors in 2010, pitching mostly out of the bullpen, and mostly unimpressively. He split the 2011 season between the majors and the minors, and put up a 2.75 ERA in 36 major league innings. He followed that up with a disastrous 2012 campaign that saw him put up a 6.50 ERA in 73.1 IP (including 13 starts).
Oakland apparently decided they were done with him, and shipped him to San Diego, along with A.J. Kirby-Jones, for utility infielder (and future Ranger waiver claim) Andy Parrino and pitcher Andrew Werner.
Things have clicked for Ross in San Diego. In 2013, he had a 3.17 ERA and a 3.20 FIP while splitting the season between the rotation and the bullpen, putting up a 1.3 bWAR and 1.5 fWAR in 125 innings. He followed that up with a 2014 campaign where he was in the rotation all year, making 31 starts and throwing 195.2 IP with a 2.81 ERA and a 3.24 FIP, good for a 2.3 bWAR and a 2.6 fWAR.
Ross throws hard -- even as a full-time starter last year, he averaged 93 mph on his fastball -- and is basically a two pitch pitcher, utilizing a fastball (pitch f/x has him with both a four-seam and two-seam fastball) and slider over 95% of the time in 2014. He has an impressive K-rate, but you have to wonder how successful a two-pitch pitcher is going to be, long-term. Still, while you would expect a righthander who rarely throws a changeup or cutter to struggle against lefties, Ross had virtually no platoon split in 2014, giving up a .289 wOBA to lefties and a .286 WOBA to righties.
Ross has three years of team control left, and coming off his breakout year, the Padres could be looking to sell high on him. He seems like the type of pitcher that Jon Daniels, based on his public comments, would target, but the price for Ross isn't going to be cheap. I have a hard time figuring out what sort of package the Padres would want for Ross, but whatever it might be, my guess is that Rangers fans would find it awfully high.