David Ross will turn 38 in March. He’s coming off a bad season and his impact offensively has been minimal the last two years.
So why, then, is Ross reportedly garnering plenty of interest in free agency?
Well, Ross is one of the most respected players in Major League Baseball. Even though he’s unlikely to post big numbers in a backup catching role, some teams — especially those with young pitching staffs — clearly value his leadership and guidance.
“It’s been humbling that this late in my career that I have so many teams interested,” Ross recently told The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. “I think I had one of my worst years last year as far as calling a game, and just feeling right. I had the foot problem and that didn’t allow me to get in the best shape. But this offseason I’ve hired a personal trainer for the first time, so I’m feeling great and should be able to handle things better.”
The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres are among the teams that have expressed interest in Ross, according to Cafardo. Most of the catcher’s offers are for one year, but Cafardo suggests some two-year deals could be on the horizon. It speaks to Ross’ reputation as a mentor.
Ross, who has played for six teams throughout his 13-year career, helped groom catching prospect Christian Vazquez during a tumultuous 2014 season for the Red Sox. Boston might look elsewhere for a backup to Vazquez in 2015, but a reunion with Ross is at least worth considering in a thin catching market. Ross certainly sounds open to the idea.
“One thing that’s most intriguing for any player, and especially for me, is how (the Red Sox) treat families and you as a person. It’s second to none,” Ross told Cafardo. “Even last year, when as a player it was the most miserable I’ve ever been because of the losing, that didn’t change. They treat you the same.”
Could Ross return to Boston alongside former batterymate and current free agent Jon Lester?
“In the end, David Ross has to take care of David Ross,” Ross said. “Like I said, I’m humbled that teams want me still.”
Father Time is bearing down on Ross. But baseball always has a place for good guys.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images