The Red Sox signed catcher David Ross to a two-year deal over the weekend. Ross, formerly of the Braves, has taken Gregg Zaun’s spot in the past few seasons as the league’s best reserve catcher. Early indications have Ross as a starter-backup hybrid. Perhaps a role similar to Jose Molina’s last season. Ross is a well-rounded backstop that relies on power and walks at the plate. In addition to good catch-and-throw skills, Ross receives credit for his work with the pitching staff.
There is risk here, however. Catchers and players dependent on the three true outcomes seldom age well. Ross fits into both circles. He struck out in 31 percent of his plate appearances last season. Further deterioration of his contact skills will jeopardize his offensive production, although the positional standards will offset some of the decline. There’s also durability concerns, as Ross has not played in more than 100 games since 2007.
To make room for Ross, the Red Sox will ostensibly trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The alternative scenario involves Boston dealing top catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway.
On Tuesday night, the Blue Jays acquired pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, utility man Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck from the Marlins for a slew of young players and a ludicrous amount financial relief.
I wrote in detail on the pieces involved elsewhere. The long story made short goes like this: Toronto acquired two good, if volatile players in Johnson and Reyes, another solid if questionable pitcher in Buehrle, and two extra parts in Bonifacio and Buck. Toronto did improve their talent level and strengthen the division in the process, but their roster still has many questions to answer. Marc Normandin expressed similar thoughts earlier today. It’s still early enough in the offseason that Toronto should improve more by opening day.