Speaking by phone Saturday afternoon, free agent Cody Ross said that he and the Red Sox never closed in on a potential deal leading up to the end of the period allowing the Sox exclusive negotiating rights.
"It hasn't been really what I would say close," Ross said.
Ross said his agent, Mike Milchin, received calls from "multiple teams" after the midnight deadline expired Friday night expressing interest in the 31-year-old. It's a dynamic that has altered Ross' mindset heading into the rest of the offseason.
"Yeah, definitely, because now it's going to be more complex with other teams involved. It's not just [the Red Sox]," he explained when asked if his thinking had changed post-deadline. "They had a ton of opportunities. We talked about this back in July and we couldn't work anything out up until the deadline. Now it only makes sense to listen to other teams. But obviously we're going to talk [with the Red Sox]."
When asked if he had an inkling as to what was about to transpire, Ross admitted, "To be 100 percent honest with you, no, not one bit."
One possibility that seemingly was in play leading up to Friday was that of the Red Sox offering the one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer to Ross. If the Sox did choose that route, it would have been presumably to prioritizing keeping any commitment short-term while paying more annually that would be earned in a multiyear deal.
"At first I thought no, but the closer it got to the deadline I thought it was possible," Ross said when asked if he believed there was a chance the Red Sox would submit the qualifying offer. "Obviously, when it passed they didn't offer, which is actually a good thing for me because now I don't have the draft pick attached to me as a free agent. Some guys have similar numbers and similar sort of careers and got qualifying offers, so teams will have to be willing to give up a draft pick to sign them, which they don't like doing. I think it benefits me. I wasn't upset about it."
With teams now being allowed to make offers to Ross, he does admit that there is some surprise that the exclusivity deadline has come and gone without a deal getting done with the Red Sox.
"I would say it's a little slower pace as far as it working out with the Red Sox," he said. "It's been a little slower than I thought.
"They had a chance to trade me at the deadline and get something decent in return, and didn't trade me in hopes of re-signing me. It just hasn't happened. Now there are quite a few other teams involved and we have a chance to play out the process. But everybody knows how much I love Boston."
Ross was especially effective in 2012 at home and against left-handed pitching. He finished the season hitting .267 with an .807 OPS and 22 home runs in 130 games but totaled a .298 average with a .921 OPS at Fenway Park, while managing a .295 average with 1.010 OPS vs. lefty pitching.
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