Right-hander Tyson Ross (30) has agreed to a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres that includes an invitation to spring training.
After being named the Padres’ 2016 Opening Day starter, Ross was immediately injured and missed virtually all of the 2016 season due to shoulder problems and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. He was non-tendered by the Padres at the end of the season. The Texas Rangers signed Ross to a one-year, $6 million deal, but the results were not pretty. Ross’ velocity was down from prior seasons and he had poor command. He walked more batters than he struck out on the season, fanning 36 and issuing 37 free passes in 49 innings. He ended up losing his rotation spot in August and getting released in September, posting a 7.71 ERA in 49 IP with 37 walks against 36 strikeouts.
Ross returns to San Diego where he has had success in his career, particularly in 2014 when he he was San Diego’s top arm. He made 31 starts, threw 195 2/3 innings, and finished with a 2.81 ERA, a 3.11 xFIP, and a 3.08 DRA. He also struck out 195 batters while walking 72 and was named to the All-Star team.
Ross is a good pitcher when he’s on, and he has four pitches in his repertoire. He throws a four-seam fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a cutter. He tried using a split-finger fastball back in the early part of the 2013 season, but he removed it from his arsenal. Before he injured his shoulder, Ross’s velocity was between 87-95. He could reach 94-95 on his four-seam, his sinker hovered around 93-94, his changeup — when it was used — could hit as high as 90, and his slider stayed around 87.
The Padres are hoping that two years out from the injuries that have plagued him, Ross can regain his form from when he was one of the best pitchers in the National League. From 2013-2015 with the Padres he had a combined 3.07 ERA with 526 strikeouts and 200 walks in 516 2/3 innings.
Ross joins fellow reclamation projects Chris Young and Clayton Richard, who also have been signed by the Padres to minor league deals and who also hope to return to their previous Padres successes. The Padres look to turn these low-risk moves into opportunities for Ross and the others to compete for spots in the rotation.