After throwing him under the proverbial bus, how do they make him part of a package another team wants to take?
The Nats are trying to land Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox or Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both teams are hoping to cash in with a blue-chip prospect load. In making such a bold statement, the Nationals hope Ross fits that description for one of these teams.
Ross will be 23 at the start of next season. Starting his third season, he is considered having barely over one full year of Major League service and is under team control until after the 2022 season. Although he has yet to carry a full workload in the big leagues, he is one of the best younger pitchers in the game.
In 32 starts with the Nationals, Ross is 12-10 with a 3.52 ERA. He has thrown 181.2 innings striking out 162 and carries a 1.222 WHIP. His Adjusted ERA+ OF 116 is above average.
Tossing him in a McCutchen deal makes no sense. He is an established arm. Losing a starter to land a centerfielder solves no problems, just a band-aid over one hole while opening another.
If this is an attempt to package Ross for Sale, then it makes more sense. Sale—a lefty—will bolster an already potent starting rotation. If the ChiSox do not want Gonzalez’s salary for one year, Ross offers a cheaper option with a ton of upside.