The main surprise to come out of this evening's conference call is that there is apparently no necessity for this to be the precursor to a further trade of an outfielder. "There may be a move down the line, there may not," said GM Kevin Towers. "If someone presents us with a deal that we think improves our club, we'll look at it," and he admitted that after signing Ross today, "My phone pretty much blew up with calls from clubs with outfield needs." Even though this pushes the payroll considerably higher than expected. or was supported last season, it does not appear to be an issue. "I've got ownership support to go with the payroll where we're at, in the mid-90's," said Towers.
In the absence of any other deal, it would appear that the plan is for Cody Ross mostly play center-field. Jason Kubel and Justin Upton will man the corners, with Gerardo Parra spelling all three spots, as and when needed, and Adam Eaton potentially being the odd man out for now. Towers said he was told by Ross that he felt most comfortable in center, although our new outfielder said he was prepared to play where ever he was needed: "I told them I was available to play left, center, right. I want to play whatever position Gibby wants me to play. I've been like that through my entire career."
That flexibility of role appears to have been one of the things which attracted Towers to the free-agent, as well as bringing a right-handed power threat to the team. "It gives our line-up a lot more balance," said the GM, "Adding another right-handed bat in there, we've got a nice balance of left- and right-handed batters... If we choose to move one of our outfielders, he gives us some protection. Or if we chose to stay with the status quo, we could option Adam Eaton." As ever, Towers stressed the importance of insurance, and feels the team is now well-covered at almost every spot except catcher. "I don't think it hurts to have depth. I think we're in a solid position right now."
The deal seems to have come together fairly quickly. Reading between the lines, it almost feels as if this year's payroll received an unexpected injection of cash, Towers describing how he was speaking to owner Ken Kendrick at the start of the week, and "Ken asked me are there any free-agents out there that thought would improve our club." Ross's name came up at the top of both their lists, and things moved forward swiftly from there. A lunch saw Ross wooed by both men, along with Derrick Hall and Luis Gonzalez, and according to Ross, "I wanted to win, and they want to win just as much as I do. It ended up being a great fit."
Ross lives in Scottsdale with his wife, Summer, and their two children, and said, "I've always longed to play for the Diamondbacks, I just never thought it was a fit, then all of a sudden Kevin calls my agent. My wife and I and our kids could not be happier right now." He believes the current team can compete, calling them "A very solid group of guys - you're talking about a really good team," and much like Kubel last year, praised the hitting conditions at Chase Field. "I love the background hitting wise, I can see the ball really well. I feel comfortable when I step in the box, and that's a big thing when you're a baseball player. Everything about the stadium felt comfortable to me."
Looks like we'll get to see over the next few years, just how comfortable Ross is.