Entering his final year of arbitration this offseason, Cody Ross is looking at what could be his final year with the Marlins in 2011. Yet many obstacles stand in his way for him to simply return for his fifth season with the Fish.
First, Ross is having a down year by power standards. He has only belted 10 out of major league ballparks this season versus 24 in 2009, 22 in 2008, and 12 in 66 games in 2007.
Second, Cody Ross is costly for the budget-strict Florida Marlins. Ross is earning $4.4 million this season and figures to earn at least $5 million in arbitration. The Marlins would figure to win any case if Ross demands more than $5 million because Ross has had a down year yet that would expensive because the Marlins are trying to extend second baseman Dan Uggla and pitcher Ricky Nolasco this offseason with Anibal Sanchez and Michael Stanton on the contract horizon.
The Marlins also have to have their "center-fielder in waiting" Cameron Maybin on their 25-man roster next season or he'll have to be placed on waivers first before heading down to the minor leagues. Simply put, Maybin is out of options come next season.
Maybin has struggled in the majors but has impressed in the minor leagues this season. Thru 30 games at (AAA) New Orleans, Maybin has hit .342 with three home runs, 21 RBIs to go along with five stolen bases. The true test will be during September when Maybin is called up to the majors for the third consecutive season when rosters expand to 40. If Maybin plays well, Ross might find himself out.
If Ross had his usual season, would this still be the question? Maybe, because the Marlins' only benefit of the Miguel Cabrera deal has been long reliever Burke Badenhop. Andrew Miller has lost his control like the other pitcher in the deal, Dontrelle Willis. Yet despite his horrid minor league numbers, 2-9, 5.35 ERA, is getting called back up for relief help.
The Marlins would certainly want to give Maybin a shot to fully develop being the most attractive part of that deal. Cameron Maybin is only 23-years-of-age so he still has time.
Yet, at the end, the Marlins would be able to trade either player because they are under club control. Cody Ross might fetch more value because he is a veteran major-leaguer. The Marlins might pull off a similar deal when they traded Mike Jacobs to the Royals for Leo Nunez. The objective would be to get a bullpen arm or two in any deal.
If I were Larry Beinfest or Michael Hill I would trade the fan favorite Ross while you can get value and take a chance with Maybin. If he doesn't pan out, you still have Emilo Bonifacio and then Christian Yelich in a few years.