Update: The deal is worth $10 million over 2 years and is pending a physical.
In an effort to shore up their left field vacancy, the Red Sox are close to a two-year contract with Jonny Gomes. Unfortunately, this likely means that Cody Ross‘s days in Boston are over. Although Gomes may be a slight drop off from Ross, he has plenty of power and walks regularly. Like Ross, he crushes lefties and may be suited more as a platoon option. It’s still nice to see the Red Sox making a push to solve their power outage and corner outfield openings, however.
In his age 31 season in 2012, Gomes enjoyed arguably his best season in the majors with the Oakland A’s. Rebounding from a shaky 2011 season, he put up a solid .262/.377/.491 slash line to go with 18 home runs and 46 RBIs. Like Cody Ross, he’s great against lefties and posted a .299/.413/.561 slash line, compared to just .209/.324/.391 against right-handers.
There are a few issues with Gomes, reasons he’s never been a full-time outfielder. For one, he’s been a bad fielder his whole career, with a career -13.2 UZR/150 (costs his pitchers 13.2 runs over 150 games). Secondly, he strikes out a ton, 31.2% in 2012 and 27.1% over his career. Also, in 2012, he benefited from an unusually high BABIP of .348, well above his career average of .297– this caused his average to jump from .244 in his career to .262 in 2012.
However, there’s also plenty to like about Gomes as a platoon option. He balances his unsightly strikeout rate with a similarly high walk rate of 13.2% in 2012 (10.1% in his career), which has generally led to high OBP’s (his career mark is .334). Also, he has great power which has led to a .211 isolated power through his career and a .229 mark in 2012.
His best numbers have come against lefties, and he’d obviously be best fit for a platoon. He still reaches base at a decent rate against righties, but it may be more prudent to slot somebody like Ryan Sweeney (.277/.316/.397 vs righties) in against right-handed starters. The price for Gomes’ contract has not led been disclosed, but it can’t be for too much. Also, a positive clubhouse presence, Gomes should fit well with the Red Sox and particularly in Fenway Park. Overall, this wasn’t a huge move, but it’s not bad for a minor acquisition.