Signed OF-R Carlos Gomez to a minor-league contract. [8/20]
After adding Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress in the biggest trade deadline deal of the year, now the Rangers are making another move for a former Brewer, adding a fallen star who’s expected to do far less for this team than his once-and-future teammates from Wisconsin. Gomez comes by way of the cross-state rival Astros this time, and while he has a few seasons of elite play under his belt, there are some real concerns about his performance going forward–the reason why the Rangers were able to acquire him for a song.
One of the best ballplayers in baseball for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the former All-Star has gone from bad to worse since the start of 2015 through today. Much has been written about Gomez’s fall from grace, but the quick-and-dirty version of his troubles is this: he’s having a lot more difficulty making contact on balls in the zone, and his ability to lift the ball has diminished. As a younger player, Gomez was a guy designated to put the ball on the ground and try to beat out hits, while playing sterling defense in center field. As he hit his apex with the Brewers, he became a power hitter … while playing sterling defense in center field. However, over the past season and a half, Gomez has offered below-average offensive numbers (.237/.297/.374), while also seeing his defense fade from spectacular to merely average.
The Rangers are making an upside play here, but they’re relying on a dramatic, quick turnaround in order to benefit from adding Gomez; he’ll be a free agent at the end of this season. I’m not quite sure why they think that Gomez is fixable, especially now that we’re in the home stretch of the season, but given the major-league minimum cost, he’s a risk that seems to be worth taking. Usually when a player fewer than 24 months removed from the top tier of baseball is available, teams would be falling all over themselves to get him in the fold. With their posse of right-handed-hitting outfielders (including Drew Stubbs and Ryan Rua) and jack-of-all-positions Jurickson Profar in the fold, few contenders needed Carlos Gomez less than the Rangers, Shin-Soo Choo injury notwithstanding. But that means if the Rangers can’t fix their new outfielder with a quickness, they can slough him aside without too much worry. That’s the (other) benefit of the Astros’ misfortune … it’s good to be the Rangers these days. —Bryan Grosnick