The first free agent signing for the Red Sox is … a backup catcher?
The Red Sox have agreed to terms with David Ross on a two-year, $6.2 million deal. Ross, who will turn 36 in March, started 47 games for the Atlanta Braves last season, hitting .256 with a .770 OPS.
Ross played eight games for the Red Sox in 2008, signing as a free agent in late August. He was on the playoff roster for the division series against the Angels that season. Ross signed with the Braves after that season. He hit .269 over four seasons.
Ross is much better than an average backup. He is one of the best catchers in the game in terms of running a game and handling pitchers. He also is a positive clubhouse presence, something the Red Sox could use.
Ross threw out 15 of 34 base stealers last season. He caught 53 of 133 (40 percent) during his four seasons in Atlanta.
The Red Sox already have catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavanway on their roster. Saltalamacchia is arbitration eligible.
Signing Ross would appear to signal that a trade will be made involving Lavarnway or Saltalamacchia.
Lavarnway would presumably have more value in a trade, but the Red Sox have long viewed him favorably as a prospect. Ross would be an ideal backup for him.
Or the Sox could platoon Saltalamacchia with Ross. Saltalamacchia is a switch hitter but hits far better from the left side than he does the right. The righthanded hitting Ross would complement him well.
The Red Sox could use Saltalamacchia at first base (he has 40 games of experience there), but that is not likely according to team sources.
Fox Sports was first with the news of Ross agreeing to terms. The Red Sox are waiting on the results of a physical to announce the signing.