Anthony Ranaudo

Why Red Sox traded Anthony Ranaudo for Robbie Ross

Rob Bradford
January 27, 2015 - 2:21 pm
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The Red Sox announced Tuesday night that they have traded Anthony Ranaudo for lefty reliever Robbie Ross. Why Ross? While the 25-year-old is a lefty, his strength may be getting right-handed hitters out, a quality the Red Sox have been looking to add to their bullpen. Ross doesn't possess a traditional lefty-on-lefty breaking ball, but he does get righties out thanks to what can be an above-average cut fastball. Ross -- a second-round pick in 2008 -- struggled for the Rangers for much of 2014, finishing with 6.20 ERA in 27 appearances (12 of which were starts). The previous two seasons, however, he was one of Texas' best relievers, totaling a 2.22 ERA in 58 games in 2012 and 3.03 over 65 relief outings. In 2013 Ross held righties to a .211 batting average, with lefty hitters managing a .343 clip. Last year he wasn't very good against either side, having more success against left-handed batters (.283) than righties (.336). So, what happened last season? Ross struggled mightily with his fastball command throughout 2014 and didn't possess any sort of effective secondary pitch. He had nothing to use on the inside part of the plate against lefty hitters or on outside part of the plate vs. righties. In 78 1/3 innings in '14 Ross struck out 51 but walked 30. He did, however, finish a streak in April of not walking a batter in 99 straight plate appearances. The lefty started the season as a starter, pitching well in his first five outings, managing a 2.45 ERA. As a reliever, Ross finished with a 7.85 ERA. Giving up on Ranaudo wasn't easy for the Red Sox, who drafted the starter 39th overall in the 2010 draft. After dealing with injuries for much of his first few pro seasons, the LSU product bounced back to make himself a viable big league starting candidates. With Triple-A Pawtucket last season he went 14-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 24 starts. Ranaudo made seven starts with the Red Sox, going 4-3 with a 4.81 ERA. Not considered a candidate to fill one of the bullpen roles, the 25-year-old righty would seem to be blocked by such young arms as Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson and Matt Barnes. [poll id=103]

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