Rangers make push to sign coveted Ross

Free-agent right-hander visits club in Arlington

January 4th, 2017

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have tried to trade for right-handed starter in the past while he was with the Padres. Now they are trying to sign him as a free agent, and Ross was in Arlington visiting with the club on Wednesday.

Texas, according to Major League sources, is making a significant push to land Ross, who is coming off a shoulder injury and made just one start for San Diego this past season. He may not be ready for Opening Day.

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But the Rangers still see Ross as a pitcher worth giving a chance, given the way he pitched for the Padres in 2013-15. Over that three-year period, he made 80 starts and was 26-34, but with an impressive 3.07 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. Opponents hit .234 off him while he averaged 9.2 strikeouts, 7.6 hits and 3.5 walks per nine innings.

Ross pitched his home games at Petco Park, which is considered favorable to pitchers. But he made 43 starts on the road with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.

Ross was the Padres' Opening Day pitcher in 2016, but he was sidelined the rest of the season with shoulder inflammation and he had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October. San Diego non-tendered him rather than go to arbitration.

"We've seen him the last few years; he's been one of the better pitchers in the league," Padres general manager A.J. Preller told MLB.com. "He's got a lot of talent. He's a guy that works very hard. He's a leader by example."

The Rangers had multiple serious trade discussions with the Padres over the past few years concerning both Ross and . Texas signed Cashner -- also a free agent -- to a one-year contract earlier this offseason.

Cashner joins a rotation that already includes Cole Hamels, and . Ross would be a candidate for the fifth spot depending on how far he is in his recovery. Right now, right-handers A.J. Griffin and are the leading candidates for the spot. Ross would at least give the Rangers depth, and a full recovery would make him a legitimate member of the rotation.