Carlos Gomez, Texas Ranger: Well, would you?
It’s a simple question, doctor!!! Would ya eat the moon…I’m sorry, wrong topic.
Amidst all of the Cole Hamels and starting pitcher talk, and you obviously know there’s a lot of it, the Rangers’ search for a right-handed bat should not be overlooked. It’s no secret that Texas’ lineup is A) heavily left-handed, but also B) severely lacking in outfield offensive production. Among the names being mentioned in the same Tweets and taglines as “Texas Rangers” are Marlon Byrd, Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Justin Upton (because every year, JD…every year…) and, yes, Jeff Francoeur. But one of the more recent names that has come up is one that interests me more than the others – Carlos Gomez of the Brewers.
Currently, Delino DeShields is the only outfielder a Rangers fan can get excited about when he comes to the plate. Cumulatively, the outfield is hitting .229/.301/.374. DeShields is the only Rangers outfielder hitting above .250. His production as a Rule 5 pick has come out of nowhere, to the point that he has supplanted Leonys Martin as the everyday center fielder. DeShields, though, could be a viable corner outfield option, if Shin-Soo Choo were moved and the Rangers were to acquire someone like Gomez. With all of that in mind, let’s answer a few questions you might have about the Brewers’ center fielder.
Can he hit?
Carlos Gomez has been an offensive asset during his time in Milwaukee, having broken out in 2013. That was the year he earned his first All-Star game spot, not just with his stellar defensive ability, but with his timely and consistent offensive production. He finished in the top ten of MVP voting in 2013 as well, and continued that streak through 2014, earning another All-Star nomination and finishing 16th in the MVP voting. The full stat lines for 2013 and 2014:
- 2013: .284/.338/.506, 24 HR, 73 RBI, 37 BB, 146 K, 40 SB
- 2014: .284/.356/.477, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 47 BB, 141 K, 34 SB
Consistent, right? This year doesn’t seem as encouraging from the outside, but Gomez has spent time at the beginning of the year on the DL with a torn hamstring, and had extended periods of rest due to a hip and groin injury. For his career, though, I’m sure the Rangers would take the .261/.315/.420 slash line. The aforementioned hamstring injury has prohibited him from being too aggressive on the bases, but the track record is there, and if you slot him behind DeShields, you’ve got a pretty good 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup.
Can he play the field?
In Gomez’ breakout year, 2013, he earned his first Gold Glove. Many will remember the multiple game saving catches and home-run stealing grabs that Gomez made that year, which really put him on the map. He’s a hard-nosed, run-through-walls, dynamic defensive Center Fielder. In that Gold Glove year, he maintained his highest fielding percentage at .988 with 12 outfield assists and an astounding 38 defensive runs saved above average.
Overall, though, you’re looking at breaking about even for defense compared to the Rangers’ current odd man out, Shin-Soo Choo. While looking at the Baseball Reference pages, fielding percentage and error totals look to be favoring Choo. Gomez, as a center fielder, gets a lot more hit to him than the corner outfielder. This creates more chances and thus increases the possibilities, not just for errors, but for making incredible plays. He’s an above average center fielder, and while nobody will have the speed of DeShields or the arm of Martin, Gomez adds his bat to the lineup, which could definitely be reason enough, right now, to put him on the diamond.
Will he stay on the field?
Gomez has actually spent a decent amount of time on the DL the past few years. Earlier this year, he injured his hamstring and hit the DL. Just a month ago, the thought was that Gomez would have to hit the DL again due to a hip and groin issue. At the end of last season, he injured his wrist. Don’t forget, too, that his full-speed ahead defense has already resulted in a broken collarbone and a sprained knee. Gomez has played three full seasons of ball – 2008, 2013, 2014 – but has hit the injury report in every other year. Still, he’s not Josh “Glass-Man” Hamilton.
Okay, what about his attitude?
Here’s where people might see a bit of an issue. As much as has been said to the public about Carlos Gomez, there’s no surprise that the man plays with a chip on his shoulder. This is different from the “Rougned Odor” chip we’re used to seeing down here in Texas. While Rougie plays with that “gotta prove it to everyone” look, Gomez has more of that “Suck it, bro” kind of vibe.
Odor can certainly ignite some scuffles, as we’ve seen this year, but the bravado of Carlos Gomez has gotten he and his teammates in trouble on more than one occasion. In 2013, he incensed the Braves so much that then-catcher Brian McCann actually prevented Gomez from touching home plate, sparking a fire between the two benches (he still hasn’t touched home plate, by the way). In 2014, Gomez bat-flipped an incredibly impressive…wall-scraper. The Pirates, whom he hit it off of, took extreme exception to the gesture, and an actual fight broke out. Gomez was suspended three games for that brawl.
So is he a little hot-headed? Sure. But this would be a wonderful spark to add to the fire.
How much will he cost?
If we’re talking this year, rumor from Brewers-land is that Doug Melvin isn’t going to give Gomez away for nothing. Prospects wise, you’re probably looking at at least one A- to B-level pitching prospect, a corner infielder who can handle a bat, and perhaps one bullpen prospect. With Gomez only earning $9 million next year, it’s unlikely that any cash comes to Texas in the deal.
If you’re looking at next year, as mentioned above, Gomez will make $9 million, which is a lot better sounding than the $37 million owed to, say Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies (plus that CarGo is left handed), over the next two years. From a timetable standpoint, as Rangers pre- and post-game analyst Jared Sandler pointed out, Gomez, going into his age 30 season, could serve as a great bridge to the next generation of Rangers outfielders.
Should JD get him?
Personally, I say yes. Obviously, the addendum, “if the price is right,” gets added to that prior statement, but I like the idea of having Gomez in the lineup. I like the bat he brings, the speed element that will improve through next year, and who doesn’t love the Gold Glove caliber plays? A projected lineup with Gomez in it would look like this, I would think: 1) DeShields, 7, 2) Gomez, 8, 3) Fielder, DH, 4) Beltre, 3, 5) Moreland, 3, 6) Hamilton/Choo, 9, 7) Andrus, 6, 8) Odor, 4, 9) Chirinos, 2.
What do you say, Rangers fans? Would you want to see Carlos Gomez come play for your team? What are you willing to give up for him?