12/22/12 10:07 PM ET
Ross moves on from turbulent year in Boston
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Asked during a conference call Saturday night how he adapted to the craziness of the Boston situation, Ross judiciously called it "a learning experience" and a "failure." Asked how he got along with now-dismissed manager Bobby Valentine, Ross added:
"I would say I got along with Bobby better than most, probably better than anyone. In my short career, I've had a number of managers with a number of different personalities. When Bobby came in, it wasn't anything different for me. It was just a different manager who wanted to do things his way.
"He had a different way of doing it. I would say that a lot of guys on the team were so used to the way Terry Francona did things that it was kind of a shock to them that Bobby would come in and say things and do things that they weren't on board with. That kind of caused some problems. I never butted heads with him or had any issues with him. That's how it was."
Ross certainly was a bright spot for the Red Sox, who under Francona and Valentine were 76-112 from Sept. 1, 2011, until the end of this past season, blowing a playoff spot on the final day of the '11 season and finishing last in the American League East in '12. Ross, mostly playing right field, hit .267 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs in 130 games and parlayed those numbers as a free agent into a three-year, $26 million deal with Arizona.
When the news of the signing began to leak nationally Saturday, Ross said he received a text message from Valentine congratulating him.
"He said he was very happy for me," Ross said. "I had a good relationship with him."
Ross, who lives with his family in nearby Scottsdale, Ariz., was ecstatic this week when D-backs general manager Kevin Towers called to ask if he was interested in playing for the D-backs. That call came Monday. Ross had lunch with team officials Tuesday, and by the end of the week, the deal was done.
Ross told his agents not to shop it around, that playing somewhere in the outfield at Chase Field for the next three years is where he wants to be. He's back in the National League West where, as a late addition off waivers by the Giants in 2010, he helped them win their first World Series title since 1954.
Ross said there was no reason to give one last shot to the Red Sox, who made it clear about their feelings early this offseason when they signed Shane Victorino to plug right field for three years and $39 million. That was with Victorino coming off a down season, during which he was traded by the Phillies to the Dodgers and batted a combined .255 with 11 homers with 55 RBIs in 154 games. Worse still, he batted .245 with 12 doubles and 15 steals for the Dodgers, who originally drafted him.
Ross said he wasn't sure why it didn't work out with Boston.
"We just couldn't agree on terms," he said. "At some point -- just to be completely honest with you guys -- they thought I was going to come back no matter what. That I loved playing there, and I did. It's a great park. It's Fenway Park. How can you not love playing at Fenway, going to work every day there? But I just wanted to be treated fairly. I wasn't asking to be overpaid. I didn't want to break the bank and they weren't willing to do it. I'm sure there's reasons why. I don't know why. You have to ask them why. It just didn't work out."
Ross was evidently a casualty of the complete housecleaning that began in Boston early this past season when Valentine clashed with veteran third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was ultimately traded to the White Sox. The apex of it all came Aug. 25 when Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto were traded to the Dodgers in a rare waiver-period deal of that magnitude.
The pruning continued when Valentine was dismissed a day after the end of the season, eventually replaced by John Farrell. The Red Sox are clearly trying to distance themselves from these last few years of futility.
Ross chuckled lightly when asked about the whole experience.
"From Day 1 it was a lot of miscommunication," he said. "We really worked hard to be a good team. We failed as a team. I'll be the first to admit it. I think the rest of the guys would admit that it was a failure. I signed up last year thinking that I had a really good chance of getting back to the playoffs and even possibly being in the World Series.
"If you looked at it on paper, our lineup was pretty ridiculous. Our pitching staff was full of All-Stars. It was a team that I really thought would go a long way. Then we had injuries, the stuff happened with Bobby and some of the players. There were a lot of distractions. It was a tough year. But I chalk it off as a learning experience, another stepping stone in my career."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.