The Tigers have signed right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross to a one-year, $6 million deal, according to a Monday afternoon report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Per Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the deal includes $250,000 in “easy bonuses,” so the deal could max out at $6 million:
Tyson Ross gets $5.75M plus easy bonuses to take him to $6M on tigers deal @Ken_Rosenthal 1st— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2018
Ross is one of the few pitchers, along with Mike Foltynewicz, Jaime Garcia, Chris Young, and Matt Harvey, who have been able to return and have some degree of success after having thoracic outlet surgery; he underwent the procedure, which removes a rib in an attempt to eliminate the compression of nerves and blood vessels in the neck and upper chest, in 2016. Clearly, though, clubs still feel that there’s some degree of risk surrounding him going forward, as this is the third straight season in which he’ll pitch on a one-year deal.
The 31-year-old Ross got off to a strong start with the Padres in 2017, posting a 3.32 ERA in 16 starts through the end of June. But he had a horrid July, throwing for an 8.87 ERA over 23.1 innings. He was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals on August and moved to a bullpen role (aside from a last-minute spot start for the injured Luke Weaver on August 12), and though his appearances were somewhat sparse, he thrived in St. Louis, posting a 2.73 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 26.1 innings.
Presumably, he’ll have a solid shot to begin the season as a starter in Detroit, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can bring the approach that made him so successful in the bullpen back to the rotation. Assuming that the Tigers don’t trade one of their top three starters (Matthew Boyd, Michael Fulmer, and Jordan Zimmermann), Ross will likely be trying to hold off Daniel Norris and the newly-signed Matt Moore, both of whom shuttled between starting and relieving in 2018, for a back-of-the-rotation spot.