COMMENTARY | Philadelphia fans don't easily forget players that crush their championship dreams. Cody Ross is Philadelphia's equivalent to Bucky Dent in Boston, so much so that the prospect of him being Ruben Amaro's latest target could be a tough pill to swallow for the "Phillies' Phaihful."
According to a tweet by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Phillies are "intensifying" their pursuit of Cody Ross as what could be the final piece of the 2013 roster.
In the 2010 NLCS, Ross played a big role in driving the Giants to the World Series over the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies and their dominating three-man rotation of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. In Game 1 alone, he took Halladay yard twice and posted a ridiculous 1.385 OPS for the series.
Ross is not a game changer. He's not a slugger or an everyday #3 hitter, nor is he a Gold Glove defender. By all accounts, Cody Ross is little more than a solid big league ballplayer, which isn't a bad thing. If the Phillies have learned anything from the Giants' two World Series championships in three seasons, it's that a lineup of solid ballplayers is just as dangerous in the playoffs as a team with a few superstars.
If the Phillies stand pat with their roster as is, they would be fielding one of the youngest starting outfields in baseball with rookie Darin Ruf (26), Domonic Brown (25) and Ben Revere (24).
The addition of Ross would provide a veteran presence in the outfield and another right-handed bat to go along with Ruf, Carlos Ruiz (post-suspension) and the recently acquired Michael Young.
What should excite Phillies fans is the possibility of adding a guy who has shown success in the playoffs. In 15 playoff games -- all in 2010 with San Francisco -- Ross hit .294 with 5 home runs, 10 RBIs and an OPS of 1.076.
Last season, Ross hit .267 with 22 home runs and 88 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox. He's been a bit of a journeyman in his 8-year career, but he has something to offer a club in need of stability.
Amaro called 2013 a "transition year", which some fans have mistakenly equated to a "rebuilding year."
Transition does not mean the Phillies have given up; it means they're changing their strategy. Amaro's first four seasons as general manager were about retooling a championship-caliber roster. Moves like trading for Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence were not about blind spending but about providing that one piece that might put the team over the edge.
He has gambled on big-time players in an effort to win and paid the price. So instead of throwing around hundreds of millions of dollars trying to desperately salvage a would-be dynasty, he's investing wisely in solid players and young prospects who have proven their worth in the show.
Fans want someone who can tear the cover off the ball, and who can blame them? After the Phillies lived off of home runs from 2007-2009 but struggled to put runs on the board from 2010-2012, a big-time slugger would seem like a quick fix. Handcuffing the franchise with another $100 million contract, however, isn't the answer short-term or long-term.
If Cody Ross signs with the Phillies it would be like seeing Chipper Jones in a Mets uniform or Derek Jeter wearing a Red Sox hat. But one thing is for sure: If he helps the Phillies win, fans will cheer for him.
Okay, maybe two of them will cheer.
Scott Lentz is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker from the Philadelphia area. He is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports and TheGamingAdvisory.com. For questions, comments or more baseball talk, follow Scott on Twitter: @scottlentz27.
All stats and figures courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
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