New York Yankees: Tyson Ross emerges as high risk, high reward option
Sep 29, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross (38) pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

After being non-tendered, RHP Tyson Ross has become a potential target for the New York Yankees to pursue. 

Boy, it’s been quite the unfortunate year for 2014 all-star starter, Tyson Ross.

Coming off a year in which he maintained a 3.26 earned run average and 212 strikeouts in 196 innings of work, he entered 2016 with high hopes to continue his dependability.

Oakland’s second-round pick of the 2008 amateur draft gave up seven runs in his lone start of last season before landing on the disabled list with what was incipiently diagnosed as shoulder inflammation.

On Oct. 13, he underwent surgery to fix symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, which requires around of four to six months. After being reported by Dennis Lin as a success, Ross could be back in action by mid-April assuming setbacks don’t find their way into the picture.

Should Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees take a risk for the chance of receiving the all-star version of Ross?

In four years with the San Diego Padres, he went 26-35, pitched to the tune of a 3.16 ERA while striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings. His best season came in 2014, when he went 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA and represented the Padres at the All-Star Game.

From 2014-15, Ross owned the eighth-most innings pitched (391.2) among National League pitchers while only surrendering 22 home runs in 64 games.

More impressively, however, only one starting pitcher in baseball in that same span produced a greater ground ball rate than Ross (59.2%) did and that was 2015’s AL CY Young award winner, Dallas Keuchel (62.6%).

So, is he worth the risk of banking on a robust comeback from a serious injury like thoracic outlet syndrome? First, let’s look out what the rotation will look like by Opening Day.

Behind Masahiro Tanaka, who maintained the third best ERA in the AL, CC Sabathia,who’s coming off his best season since 2012, and Michael Pineda who was the AL Leader in strikeouts per nine innings, the Yankees have either unproven or dubious arms competing with each other for the last two spots.

Disclaimer: one could also assert that Pineda — who is one of six players in MLB history to strikeout more than 200 but to manage an ERA over 4.80 — is extremely unproven as well.Those are the three apparent “locks” for the 2017 starting rotation.

Competing for the final three spots will be three unproven kids —  Luis SeverinoLuis CessaChad Green and Bryan Mitchell. Far from dependable. 

While Ross, nor any free agent starting pitcher, will make New York’s rotation a legitimate threat, the current state of the Yankees could promote yet another one of those “projects.”

Should it be a move the Yankees should make? Depends on the offer — which should be no more than a one-year deal in between his last two annual salaries ($5-9 million).

Worst case scenario, he doesn’t pan out and you part ways by the end of the year but if (big if) he comes back well, this could be a gamble worth making this winter.

Again, should they do it? Probably not. In fact, with $46 million coming off the books by the end of 2017, Cashman may be able to see how he performs this season and could be in on him when he presumably hits the market.

Don’t be surprised, however, if Ross is reached out to at some point this offseason for an incentive based contract starting at league minimum.

Perhaps, however, it’s unwise to risk even a year for a hurler with injury question marks for the hope he can be the innings eater he was prior to hitting the shelf.

Perhaps assessing the young talent like Cessa, Green and maybe even seeing what Dietrich Enns, James Kaprielian and Jordan Montgomery has would run circles around investing in a starter that has no future in the Bronx.