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Jonny be Gomes

After Cody Ross put up a surprisingly solid season in 2012, I was convinced that the Red Sox were going to reward him with an ill-advised contract extension. Fortunately, they did not do that. Unfortunately, they did decide to give too much money to a guy with a very similar skillset.

Jonny Gomes is not a remarkable player. He’s 32 years old, he plays mediocre corner outfield defense, he hits lefties pretty well, and he doesn’t hit righties nearly well enough to justify a fulltime role. We’ve all known guys like that. Cody Ross. Darnell McDonald. Jay Payton. Gabe Kapler, in his later years. The point is that there are an awful lot of guys out there who can do the things that Jonny Gomes can do, and that’s why those guys don’t tend to make a lot of money.

Unless, of course, they get signed by the Boston Red Sox. For some reason they decided to give Jonny Gomes a two-year contract worth ten million dollars, meaning that they get all the fun of overpaying a declining, limited fourth outfielder but without the goodwill generated by keeping a lone bright spot from the disastrous 2012 season. It is truly the best of both worlds.

I’m just assuming that the Sox are bringing in Gomes to be a strict platoon partner with someone, be that Ryan Sweeney or Ryan Kalish or some other crappy lefthanded outfielder named Ryan. If Gomes is being brought in with the expectation that he’ll play 130 games and get 528 plate appearances, like Cody Ross wound up doing last year, then this goes from a negligible overpay to a disgusting misjudgment of talent.

And, of course, the overpay is only negligible if the Red Sox are really serious about going right back to the high-salary clubs of the past few years. I’m not saying that money should be spent just for the sake of spending it, but if the Red Sox are fine with a $180 million payroll then it’s less of an issue that they’re going to be spending $5 million on a guy they probably could have gotten for $2 or $3 million. On the other hand, if the club’s going to be operating on a leaner budget for the next couple of seasons, then that wasted couple million bucks becomes more important, and less forgivable.

Bottom line: If the Red Sox brought Jonny Gomes in to be a lefty-mashing fourth outfielder and are planning to land Napoli, Greinke and some other big names, fine. But if they want him to be a fulltime player, or if they’re only going to overpay for mediocrities and not the best players available, then it’s going to be another long, angry season.

  1. November 21, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    I’d be worried they were bringing him in to take over for Ortiz at the DH spot, except that’s already been taken care of. As it stands though, I’m more surprised at the second year on the deal than I am upset at the money.

  1. December 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

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