The San Francisco Giants’ quest to build depth for their pitching staff continued Friday as the team reportedly agreed to terms on a minor league deal with free agent right-hander Tyson Ross.
Ross spent part of last season with the Detroit Tigers before a season-ending elbow injury landed him on the injured list in May. News of Friday’s deal was first reported by USA Today.
Ross, 32, is a Berkeley native who was drafted in the second round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s out of Cal. The right-hander arrived in the majors in 2010 and spent the first three years of his career with the A’s before being traded to the Padres in November, 2012.
The #SFGiants signed veteran pitcher Tyson Ross, a Bay Area native, to a minor-league deal. He’ll earn $1.75 million w/ $1.75M in incentives if he makes their big-league team. Ross earned $5.75M last year with the #Tigers, but didn’t pitch after May 10 with elbow/neck injuries.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 3, 2020
USA Today reported that Ross will earn $1.75 million in 2020 if he makes the 25-man roster this year, but the right-hander will face competition for a spot on the pitching staff this spring.
The Giants’ projected rotation already includes a pair of veteran right-handers in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija and the organization is eager to see Tyler Beede continue developing at the major league level. It’s possible top pitching prospect Logan Webb could begin the year in the minors, but Webb is expected to be in the mix for an Opening Day job in the team’s rotation, too.
Ross owns a career 4.04 ERA over parts of 10 major league seasons, but has struggled with consistency since he last spent a full year in a starting rotation in 2015. Over the last four seasons, Ross has pitched for the Padres, Rangers, Cardinals and Tigers with his most success coming during the second half of the 2018 season in St. Louis when he posted a 2.73 ERA over 26 1/3 innings and nine appearances, eight of which came out of the bullpen.
It’s unclear whether the Giants will give Ross a shot to earn a spot in the rotation or try to help him re-establish his value as a bullpen arm, but all 35 1/3 innings he pitched last year with Detroit came as a starter.
The contract Ross reportedly signed is almost identical to the ones veteran free agents Gerardo Parra, Yangervis Solarte and Cameron Maybin agreed to last offseason with the Giants. Ross can earn more in incentives, but the $1.75 million base salary is the same total Parra, Solarte and Maybin accepted last spring.