There you have it. Free agent outfielder Cody Ross has signed a three-year, $26 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Phillies would have taken Ross on a deal for one year with an option, or perhaps even two, but it was clear they weren't willing to go to three years for a marginal outfield upgrade. Ross was one of the last corner outfield bats available. His signing shrinks the free agent talent pool to Nick Swisher (who the Phillies aren't really after) and Scott Hairston, a platoon player.
Ross hit .267 with an .801 OPS, 34 doubles, 22 homers and 81 RBI last season for the Red Sox. He has a .575 career slugging percentage against lefties, but his numbers against righties (.253/.312/.415) are below average.
The Phils may head into 2013 with a double outfield platoon consisting of Darin Ruf, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix. There isn't a $26 million gap in talent between Ross and the platoon splits of those players.
It's interesting that the Diamondbacks signed Ross, because they weren't really in need of an outfielder. Prior to the weekend, Arizona's projected outfield for next season was Adam Eaton in center, Justin Upton in right and Jason Kubel in left. They also have Gerardo Parra, who would be productive enough to start for the Phillies, but GM Kevin Towers appears more intent on trading Kubel than Parra.
Kubel could be a fit with the Phillies and it's assumed they'll feel out the situation, if they haven't already. Yes, he's a lefthanded hitter, but the guy hit 30 homers last year and since 2008 has averaged 27 per year with an .815 OPS.
You have to remember that about 70% of pitches thrown in a season are by righthanders. Kubel doesn't hit lefties, but he had 165 more plate appearances last year against righties than lefties. Ross, who doesn't hit righties, faced them 228 times more than he faced lefties.
Kubel fits perfectly into the Phillies' price range. He's due $7.5 million in 2013 and has a mutual option for $7.5 million in 2014, with a $1 million buyout.
The D-backs have too many outfielders now, and putting together a package for Kubel is certainly more appealing than hoping a double platoon works or that Vernon Wells remembers how to hit.
An outfield of Ben Revere in center, Brown full-time or about 80% in one corner and Kubel in the other corner with Darin Ruf mixed in is more appealing than devoting a season's worth of at-bats to Mayberry and Nix.