The Pirates Should Pursue Tyson Ross


Yesterday, the San Diego Padres non-tendered starting pitcher Tyson Ross making him a free agent. In my opinion, the Pirates should pursue Tyson Ross.

This offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates need to add at least two starting pitchers. The past month I have been covering pitchers that I believe the Pirates should pursue both in free agency and via trade. Well, one of those pitchers I mentioned as a trade target has become a free agent.

On Friday night the San Diego Padres non-tendered starting pitcher Tyson Ross. Earlier this offseason I wrote that the Pittsburgh Pirates should pursue a trade with the Padres for Ross. However, after the Padres non-tendered him he is now a free agent.

Last season Ross made just one start due to a shoulder injury. This shoulder injury is a big reason he was non-tendered by the Padres. Despite having surgery, he is still expected to be ready for Opening Day 2017.

This came after back-to-back seasons in which Ross pitched at least 195 innings. These two seasons, 2014 and 2015, were his first two full seasons as a Major League starting pitcher. From 2010 through 2013 he made starts and pitched out of the bullpen for both the Oakland A’s and the San Diego Padres.

In 670 2/3 career innings pitched Tyson Ross has averaged 8.49 K/9, 3.64 BB/9, 0.56 HR/9, and he has a WHIP of 1.32. He owns a strong 56 percent ground ball rate, and his career line drive rate of 19.6 percent is better than league average. All of this has led to Ross posting a 3.64 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 3.48 xFIP, and a 10.8 WAR in his Major League career.

Despite missing essentially all of the 2016 season, Tyson Ross has very favorable Steamer Projections for 2017. He is projected to average 8.52 K/9, to generate a 54.2 percent ground ball rate, and to allow just 0.76 HR/9. He is also projected to post a 3.63 ERA, 3.64 FIP, and a 2.6 WAR.

Next: Pirates Tender Contracts To Six Players

Assuming Tyson Ross is healthy, he would easily slide in as the Pirates’ third best starting pitcher behind Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. Those three could give the Pirates one of the best starting pitching trios in the National League. And that would go a long way toward returning to the postseason.

Due to his shoulder issues, Ross could come decently cheap this offseason. Also, a one-year contract could be a real possibility. Ross may even be looking for a one-year deal in an effort to rebuild his value.

I would look to sign Tyson Ross to a one-year contract. However, I would stick an option year on that contract. This gives the Bucs an out in case Ross is not healthy in 2017. Additionally, it also gives them the chance to keep him for 2018 if he is.