Pittsburgh Pirates News: Team Signs Robbie Ross Jr.

(Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are less than a month away from Opening Day.  With that being said, the team is still adding free agents.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed numerous players to minor league contracts so far this offseason.  The team gives out more minor league deals than most, as they have done a good job of helping these players resurrect their careers.  Also, for the Bucs, it has been a big boost for them to find players on cheap, low-risk high-reward deals.

So far this offseason the team has signed mainly pitchers to minor league deals.  Brandon Maurer, Francisco Liriano, Tom Koehler, Rookie Davis, and Tyler Lyons were all brought in this way with a chance to compete for a spot in the bullpen, though Koehler is looking more at 2020 as he continues his rehab process in 2019.

Well, the team has not finished signing former big league pitchers to minor league deals. According to John Dreker of Pirates Prospects, the team has come to an agreement with veteran left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross.  Ross is 29 years old and has pitched for the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.

Ross is a 5’11” and weighs 215 pounds and was drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft as a high schooler from Kentucky.  He was selected by the Texas Rangers and spent the next three and a half years in their minor league system.  He eventually made his Major League début for the Rangers on April 8th, 2012.  Ross ended up sticking with the Rangers for that whole season, throwing in 58 total games.  In his rookie year, he ended up with an ERA of 2.22 and proved to be a solid groundball pitcher, inducing a grounder 62 percent of the time.  He followed that up with a very similar 2013 season as well.

However, since then Ross’ career has been a bit of a roller coaster.  He was traded to the Boston Red Sox during the 2014-2015 offseason.  The Rangers gave him up for then starting pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo.  Ross was coming off a very down 2014 when he had an ERA above 6.00 and spent some time at Triple-A.

He ended up having a solid first year with the Red Sox in 2015, throwing to a 3.85 ERA, not nearly as good as he was early on, but at least serviceable.  He followed it up with an even stronger 2016 season.  Ross threw 55.1 innings and ended up with an ERA of 3.25.  It seemed that Ross was getting back to being a solid left-handed bullpen option.

However, his whole career was changed after just a few weeks into the 2017 season.  The former second-round pick only pitched eight games and struggled mightily.  He ended up missing the rest of the 2017 season when he received back surgery.  The Red Sox ended up outrighting him off of their 40 man roster and Ross elected free agency.  The Chicago White Sox picked him up and he spent the whole 2018 season rehabbing in their system.

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Now the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed him to a minor league deal for the 2019 season.  Ross has had an up and down career with the most recent issue being a major injury.  He took the whole 2018 season to come back after having two solid years with the Red Sox.  Hopefully, Ross can remain healthy and get back to being a groundball pitcher that could be a solid left-handed option of the bullpen at some point this season.