2011 Roster Preview Part Four: Cody Ross
Imagine, if you will, a right fielder with an above-average glove who’s also a nice guy and respected member of the clubhouse. Sure, he doesn’t quite have the pop you’d like in a corner outfielder, but he can find the gaps and get hits in bunches.
You’re imagining Randy Winn, right? Because that’s totally who I was talking about.
There were a million reasons to love what Cody Ross did in the postseason last year, but my favorite was pretending he was Randy Winn reincarnated (I know Winn didn’t die, but he signed a Minor League deal with the Orioles, which is basically the same thing).
Winn was the Cody Ross of 2005, a decent player acquired late in the season to little fanfare who proceeded to get crazy hot (.359/.391/.680 with 14 HR in 58 games in case you’ve forgotten). Then, for the next three seasons, he was reliably solid. Problem is, the teams he was on were reliably unsolid. In 2007, Winn posted a 104 OPS+ while providing typically excellent defense in the vast pinball machine that is AT&T Park — and the Giants lost 91 games and finished last. Overall, Winn has logged more than 1,700 games in his Big League career and never tasted the playoffs.
I’m sure he doesn’t take any solace in the fact that another guy with a remarkably similar skill set did get to the postseason playing his old position, and was a hero and won a ring and is is now an indelible part of Bay Area sports lore. In fact, if anything, it probably bothers him that he wasted his last good years on those painfully bad Giants teams, only to see them win it all the year after he left.
But it gives me some solace, and that’s what matters.