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Red Sox 'optimistic' on signing Cody Ross

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  January 23, 2012 06:59 PM

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The Red Sox are reportedly negotiating with free agent outfielder Cody Ross and could have a deal done by the end of the night.

Ross, who turned 31 in December, is a right-handed hitter who has primarily been a center fielder in his career but has experience in right and left. A postseason hero for the world champion Giants in 2010, Ross hit a modest .240/.325/.405 last season with 14 homers and 52 RBIs.

Ross is a career .282/.349/.563 hitter against lefties, although it is worth noting that he hit .234/.336/.362 against southpaws last season.

With Carl Crawford not expected to be ready to start the season and Mike Aviles in line to play more shortstop than expected, Ross would give the Red Sox some much-needed depth in the outfield.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury New reported that Ross is ready to pick a team today.

UPDATE, 7:40 p.m.: A team source says the Red Sox, "have made some progress" with Ross today.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: Ken Rosenthal of Fox is reporting the Red Sox have signed Ross. Details to come.

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: A team source said the Sox are "optimistic" about signing Ross. That could simply mean he needs to take a physical or the contract language needs to be finalized.

The deal would be worth $3 million and include incentives based on playing time.

UPDATE, 9:35 p.m.: Signing Ross would not preclude the Red Sox also signing Roy Oswalt or finding some other way to help the rotation. There is budget space left to make a move.

According to sources, the Red Sox are hoping to extract value from the market as spring training edges closer. They also could elect to save the money and have some financial flexibility for in-season trades.

Just an opinion, but they didn't trade Marco Scutaro without having some sense about what they could do with the money saved.

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