One more outfielder off the board. According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a three-year contract with free agent outfielder Cody Ross. Jim Bowden of ESPN says the deal is worth $26 million, including a $1 million buyout of a fourth-year club option.
Ross, 31, is coming off a bounce-back season with the Red Sox in which he hit .267/.326/.481 iwht 22 home runs and 34 doubles. In early November, Buster Olney reported that Ross was asking for a three-year deal worth $25 million in his negotiations with Boston’s front office. He was using the three-year $21 million contract that Josh Willingham got last offseason as a baseline, likely out of the Mets’ price range.
The only outfielder on the free agent market now that looks to be in the Mets’ price range and fits the type of player they want is Scott Hairston. He will probably be significantly cheaper than Ross, asking for the same type of money (two years, $10 million) that Jonny Gomes got in his deal with Boston.
In order to significantly upgrade their outfield, the Mets may now have to turn to the trade market, even if they are able to re-sign Hairston. Oddly enough, the Diamondbacks may be open to a trade now that they have a surplus of outfielders on their roster, including Justin Upton and Jason Kubel. Other teams the Mets could target include Oakland, Colorado, and Minnesota.