MLB Hot Stove: Padres non-tender Tyson Ross, making him an intriguing free agent

Friday was the non-tender deadline in Major League Baseball's offseason. In short, players who aren't yet eligible for free agency or locked into a free-agent contract (so pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players) can either be tendered a contract offer for 2017 or non-tendered, the latter of which is tantamount to being released into free agency.

We'll have a more thorough rundown Saturday regarding the most interesting players who were let go, but there was one name in particular for whom couldn't wait: Tyson Ross.

Ross is now a free agent. USATSI

The Padres announced Friday that they non-tendered Ross, 29, who had one year left with the Padres before hitting free agency.

Last offseason, he was a hot name in trade rumors, as many contending teams wanted to get their hands on him. The Padres ended up holding onto him and he only made one start before injuring his shoulder. The injury would last all year, with Ross undergoing thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in the middle of October.

The recovery period for such a procedure is four-to-six months, so a normal recovery would have Ross ready for Opening Day. If he is healthy and ready, he's a mid-rotation option.

In 2014-15 combined, Ross had a 3.03 ERA (117 ERA+), 1.26 WHIP and 407 strikeouts in 391 2/3 innings. He was an All-Star in 2014. Control is an issue, as Ross led the league in walks (84) and wild pitches (14) in 2015, but the potential is there for a big season if Ross is put into the right situation.

Of course, the Padres were surely watching Ross' progress back from the surgery. It's possible things weren't progressing as they hoped. Given that they play in a small market and are rebuilding, and given that Ross was set to make over $10 million through arbitration in 2017, it's possible they were simply cutting their losses with Friday night's move instead of hoping he'd turn into nice trade bait by midsummer.

Moving forward, Ross now joins a pretty weak starting pitching class as an intriguing option. Almost any team in any situation could take a shot. We'll likely see lots of one-year, incentive-laden offers. Sure, it could end up like Josh Johnson where he never is able to make a comeback, but we've seen pitchers like Jaime Garcia and Chris Young come back from the procedure.

If nothing else, lots of front offices are looking at Ross right now when they previously weren't.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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