By Jeff Louderback
The Cody Ross era in Boston is officially over.
According to multiple media reports, Ross has agreed to a three-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that the contract is for three years and $26 million.
Ross, who will turn 32 on Sunday, thrived with the Red Sox in 2012 after he signed a one-year, $3 million deal last offseason. The versatile outfielder who can play all three positions hit .267 with a .802 OPS to accompany 22 home runs, 81 RBI and 34 doubles.
Boston originally envisioned the right-handed hitter in a platoon role with the left-handed hitting Ryan Sweeney, but multiple injuries in the Red Sox outfield allowed Ross to compile 528 plate appearances.
The Red Sox were understandably reluctant to offer Ross three years. Boston has top prospects like Jackie Bradley and Bryce Brentz who are almost Major League ready, and the 25-year-old Ryan Kalish can play all three outfield spots and is expected to be fully recovered from shoulder and neck injuries that derailed his progress the last two seasons.
Instead of re-signing Ross, the Red Sox opted to bring in the right-handed hitting Jonny Gomes on a two-year, $10 million deal and the switch-hitting Shane Victorino on a three-year, $39 million contract.
Like Ross, Gomes mashes left-handed pitching. The Red Sox will likely platoon him in left field with Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava or an acquisition. Victorino provides the club with versatility since he is a switch-hitter and can proficiently play all three outfield positions. Ross was shaky at times in the outfield in 2012.