According to Comcast Sports Net’s Sean McAdam, the Red Sox are closing in on a 2-year deal with free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Gomes, 31, has played for the Tampa Bay Rays, Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A’s organizations – spending the lion’s share of the time as a platoon OFer. It’s hard to identify what role Gomes will have, but he’ll most likely be used in a super platoon situation much like Cody Ross was used last year. In fact, both he and Ross are interesting studies in contrast, with many similar skills with some nuanced differences.
Ross is certainly a more versatile and capable defender, while Gomes will likely have to be stashed away in LF for safe keeping, if that. Gomes however, fares better against righties and takes more walks. Either way, one would have to assume that Gomes’ presence on the roster virtually assures that the Sox have moved on from Ross altogether.
Gomes’ biggest strength is his ability to mash left handed pitching – doing so at a .385 wOBA clip over the course of his career. That skill should serve him particularly well in Fenway, especially considering that virtually all of his power is to the left side of the ballpark. Taking a quick look at his BIP chart should give Red Sox fans some reason for optimism that his bat should play well in Boston – regardless of whether he starts of finds himself coming in off the bench in a platoon situation.
The downside – as was mentioned before – is his incredibly bad defense. As Jeremy Lundbland of ESPN pointed out – since 2005, he’s one of the 10 worst outfielders in all of baseball in both runs saved and UZR/150. While watching poor defenders in LF is nothing new to Sox fans, Gomes may prove to be especially bad. With the DH position swallowed up by David Ortiz, it’s hard to imagine Gomes being in a situation where he could start everyday, as his glove is quite simply a liability. Asking him to play every day would be stretching his skills past what he’s capable of delivering.
In spite of that, Gomes does bring with him a sterling reputation as a fun, amiable clubhouse presence. Along with the signing of David Ross, it should be a major indicator that the Red Sox are very serious about cleaning up what was certainly a messy Red Sox clubhouse last season.
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