Cody Ross entered the hearts of Giants fans after hitting two home runs off of Roy Halladay in last night’s playoff game. Ross, a decent player picked up by the Giants in late August, delivered on the big stage, leading the team’s fans to shake our heads in happy disbelief, not for the first time in this fine season. Ross also becomes another example of the excellence of the club’s award-winning general manager, who grabbed Ross off of the waiver wire. Ross may not be as big a feather in Sabean’s cap as is Jeff Kent, but those two home runs put him in the wardrobe, at least.
Except … Ross is similar to Kent in another important way. Jeff Kent became a Hall-of-Famer as a Giant, and his acquisition might still be the smartest move Sabean ever made. But, as I have noted in the past, Kent was not seen as anything special when the Giants got him. He was a cog in a deal that brought three players to the Giants, and nothing in the quotes from the time indicate that Sabean thought Kent was any more important than Jose Vizcaino or Julian Tavarez. Give Sabean his due for bringing Kent to the Giants, but don’t underestimate the amount of luck behind that move.
Well, the story has been beaten into the ground, but here it goes again: the Giants grabbed Cody Ross off of the waiver wire in large part because they didn’t want him to end up on the Padres. They didn’t know what to do with him once they got him. The first few weeks, he sat so Bochy could stick Jose Guillen’s name on the lineup card … Guillen isn’t much good, which, of course, didn’t stop Sabean from signing him. When Andres Torres went on the DL, Aaron Rowand returned to CF for three of the first four subsequent games, until Bochy remembered that Rowand isn’t much good anymore, either. Only then did Ross get his first shot as a regular starter. Ross hit .346 in the next seven games, but when Torres returned, Ross went back to the bench. In the crucial six games that closed the regular season, Cody Ross got one start, with Jose Guillen back in RF for the other five games.
When the post-season roster was being finalized, there was some question as to whether Ross would even make the team … Jose Guillen was the regular, after all. Luckily for the Giants and their fans, Guillen’s injury opened up a spot for Cody Ross, setting the stage for last night’s memorable display.
So, thanks to Cody Ross, and thanks to whatever confluence of events brought him to the Giants. But don’t go overboard in thanking Brian Sabean or Bruce Bochy, who both seemed to think Jose Fucking Guillen was a better player than Ross.