It is a sad day for Atlanta Braves fans this morning. In a surprise deal the Boston Red Sox has signed David Ross to a 2-year, $6.2 million, deal pending a physical. Ross, 35, will share time with Jarord Saltalamacchia, another former Brave, in Boston.
Considered the best back-up catcher in the game, Ross batted .256 with nine homers and 23 RBI in 2012. For his career, Ross has a .238 average, 84 homers and 248 RBI.
There was no one more important for the Braves Playoff run this past year than Ross as he moved into the starting roll down the stretch for Atlanta after multiple injuries to Brian McCann. Ross started the Wildcard Game and homered in his first at-bat to give the Braves and early lead in a game it eventually lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.
But with McCann coming off major off-season shoulder surgery, it is very surprising the Braves let Ross slip away. With Ross gone, the back-up roll will fall to a group of youngsters to compete for the job.
Leading the charge will be Christian Bethancourt followed by Bryan de la Rosa and Josh Elander. All three are considered excellent defensive catchers with Elander getting the edge from an offensive standpoint.
The Braves have no plans to move Evan Gattis back to catcher at this point. As far as free agents go, there are some big names available in Russell Martin, Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski. But with the Braves in need of a center and left fielder, Atlanta will spend very little when it comes to a back-up.
No matter who the back-up will be, this is a devastating loss for the Braves Clubhouse and a huge win for Boston.
M Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years of experience in broadcasting and journalism in professional baseball and college athletics and is the ACC Football Guru, SEC Voice of Reason and College Football Comedian for Rant Sports. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.