PHOENIX — Cody Ross had a good working relationship with Boston manager Bobby Valentine last season, and Valentine was one of the first people to text Ross after he signed a free-agent deal with Arizona. But all the drama involving the Red Sox made for a difficult 2012, a year Ross called “a learning experience.”
“From Day 1, it was a lot of miscommunication,” Ross said. “A lot of it got blown up. The media in Boston is lot different than in a lot of places. As far as my teammates go, I had a blast with them. Everyone worked extremely hard to be a really good team. We failed as a team. I’ll be the first to admit it . . . and all those other 25 guys, actually 40 guys, because it took about 40 of us . . . would admit it was a failure.
“I signed up last year thinking that I had a really good chance of getting back to the playoffs and even being possibly in the World Series. You looked at it on paper, and our lineup was pretty ridiculous. Our pitching staff was full of All-Stars. A team that I thought was going to go a long way. Obviously, injuries happened, and it was just a tough year. All the stuff that happened with Bobby and some of the players, distractions and all that, was tough.”
Valentine had an early-season run-in with Kevin Youkilis that drew in All-Star Dustin Pedroia, one of several spats in a season of seemingly ever-increasing friction that doomed the Red Sox to a last-place finish in the American League East and resulted in the almost immediate dismissal of Valentine after his first season there.
“I got along with Bobby probably better than most, probably better than anyone,” said Ross, who was used to transition after having played for nine managers in his eight previous major-league seasons.
“It was just a different manager who wanted to do it his way. So many guys were used to the way Terry Francona did it, it was a shock to them when he asked them to do some things they weren’t on board with. I chalk it up as being a learning experience and a steppingstone in my career. I’m going to miss my teammates, but I can tell you I’m pretty excited to be in Arizona playing for the Diamondbacks.”
Ross signed with the D-backs five days after he and his wife had a luncheon with managing partner Ken Kendrick, president/CEO Derrick Hall, general manager Kevin Towers and special assistant Luis Gonzalez. Kendrick had identified Ross from the free-agent pool, and the Rosses live in suburban Scottsdale.
Towers said he wanted to act quickly, and the three-year, $26 million deal with a $1 million option for 2016 was done in record time. Reports out of Boston said the Red Sox were willing to go only two years, although Ross would not get into specifics about those discussions. Ross said he told the D-backs that he would not instruct his agent to shop the offer.
“I kept my word and didn’t call anybody to try to match it,” said Ross, who had 22 home runs, 81 RBI and a .267 average in his only season in Boston.
“We just could never agree on terms,” Ross said of the Red Sox. “At some point, to be completely honest, they thought I was going to come back no matter what. That I loved playing there. And I did. It’s a great park. It’s Fenway Park. How could you not love playing at Fenway and going to work every day there?
“I just wanted to be treated fairly. I wasn’t asking to be overpaid or to break the bank. They weren’t willing to do it. There are reasons why. You’d have to ask them why. I have no idea. It just didn’t work out. That happens. It happens in everyday business. It happens in baseball.”