With the trade of Craig Kimbrel on Friday night, A.J. Preller has once again taken the offseason baseball world by storm. Following the trade, and with the great prospect haul in tow, Preller and company are far from finished this offseason. Next up on the list seems to be Tyson Ross. The San Diego Padres previously fielded offers for Ross at last year’s trade deadline and seem willing to take those talks one step further this offseason. This fact begs the question; Should the Padres trade Tyson Ross this offseason?
To make a decision on the question of if the Padres should trade Tyson Ross, his value on the trade market must be better estimated. As it currently stands, Ross is a 28-year-old right hander coming off of the best season of his career, in which he finished the season with a WAR of 4.4. Tyson Ross has two more seasons of arbitration before becoming a free agent, and seems to just be entering his prime in recent years. If on the free agent market this offseason, it seems Ross would get a contract in the four to six year range for upwards of 100 million given his successful 2015 season and his youth.
While Ross has been known for his struggles with walking batters, he averaged just under four walks per nine innings last season, he pitched the most innings (196) and had the highest strikeout rate (9.73 per nine innings) of his whole career. Following a season in which he finished in the top twenty in WAR of all the pitchers in the entire league, Ross’ trade value seems to be at an all time high.
Ross arguably pitched at around the level of Jon Lester last year, who just signed a six year, $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs last offseason. Beyond that, Ross also arguably had a better overall season than Johnny Cueto, who is expected to command one of the richest salaries this offseason as well. Sandwiched between two players with the caliber of Lester and Cueto is a pretty good spot for Ross to be in, and it also bodes well for the Padres front office this offseason.
Based on his successful 2015 season, and the steep prices several free agent pitchers are expected to get this offseason, Tyson Ross’ has an immense amount of trade value. Ross has two years left before free agency, at cheaper arbitration levels, which would make him a cheaper alternative to the likes of Greinke, Price, Cueto, Zimmermann, and so on. A team would obviously have to part with some good players/prospects to trade for Ross, but the monetary savings may justify that cost.
At this point it is clear that Ross has a substantial amount of value this offseason, given his 2015 performance and the two years of team control he has remaining before free agency. Even with his obvious value, should the Padres consider trading Ross? At this point, it makes sense for the Padres to get value at of Ross while his value is at its height. The Padres will likely be unable to sign Ross long term, especially with several large contracts still on the roster for the long term future, and can amass the most value for him at this point in his career.
Ross is certainly a hot commodity this offseason and, as much as it pains me to say this, the Padres must cash in on his value while they can. The Padres obviously could use another ace-like pitcher behind James Shields in 2016 and 2017, but the opportunity to get a great prospect return for Ross is too good to pass up. Similar to the return the Padres got for Craig Kimbrel just the other day, the team may be able to come with a similar massive return if they choose to trade Ross. Now is the time to pull that trigger.