Yes, there are legitimate questions about whether Jonny Gomes should have been re-signed for the upcoming season. I personally think Gomes makes the team better, but there are reasonable arguments to the contrary.

That said, I love having the guy around. Here are a few more reasons why. He’s awesome.

52 Responses

  1. TC

    He’s a great guy to have in the clubhouse and provides (at minimum) the best option in LF against lefties. I am (and have been for some time) confused about the sombraro. I’ve assumed it is in reference to “The Golden Sombraro” which is not a good thing. But here, it seems to be a term of affection. It’s obvious that is Gomes in the picture. Is it just because of the picture? Please explain.

  2. TC

    I think I’m going to start wearing a Gomes jersey with a Sombraro to games this year.

    – OR –

    Chad, if you sold Redlegs Nation T-shirts I’d wear those to games instead. Save my marriage and spare my wife the embarrasment of being seen with me at the games. Sell T-shirts! Maybe something with a place to put your handle on the back or something. 😉 (Joking of course).

  3. RiverCity Redleg

    TC, yes it’s just because of this picture. The pic surfaced last year, shortly after he signed and The Redleg Nation revelled in its ridiculousness. This pic has been a catalyst in making Jonny a fan favorite around these parts. They’ve even gone as far as photoshopping the sombrero onto other players when they do well. It’s been a good running gag here at RLN.

  4. Chad Dotson

    That’s a good recap by RCR. It’s just been something silly for us to play around with.

    And t-shirts are coming, as soon as I can come up with a suitable design. Got the supplier lined up, etc. So any design concepts you guys want to suggest would be appreciated.

  5. RiverCity Redleg

    Gomes’ Sombrero = Badge of Honor

  6. david

    I said it once, and I’ll say it again. Without the sombraro, nobody would care if he were back with the Reds. Well, maybe they’d care, but about as much as we care Nix is back with the team.

  7. Dan

    @david: Disagree. Gomes was the 2nd most productive Red last year (offensively), after Votto. Look it up. In my opinion, it’s really not even close.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CIN/2009.shtml

    I was a Gomes fan before I had ever seen the sombrero picture. He plays hard, he produces, and he seems like a really fun guy to have on the team.

    Nix stinks. I just can’t get past the .290 OBP.

  8. JasonL

    @Dan: The problem is that they make Gomes play the field, too. That makes him decidedly not the 2nd most productive Red. What you used, right there, is what is called a misleading statistic.

    I like Gomes, but he had a career year last year and has never been much in the field. I wish people would stop acting like he’s some great savior in left. He’s not. Though he is a nice pinch hitter to have around.

  9. pinson343

    Some amazing stories. I didn’t know about the heart attack. The plastic rooster story … hmmm. Male bonding going a little too far.

    Johnny’s sombrero sure beats the urban sombrero.

  10. david

    @Dan: First, Gomes had just 314 PAs, hardly enough to set the world on fire. In fact, he’s never had more than 461 PAs. That should tell you something right there.

    Second, JasonL is right. You completely ignored Gomes’ defensive ineptitude. He’s never posted a positive UZR/150. As a point of comparison, Jermaine Dye has had better defensive metrics the last three years than Gomes.

    Third, in 2009, his GB/FB, FB% and HR/FB rates were career bests. As these numbers regress to the norm, so will Gomes’ OPS+.

    Fourth, Gomes is incapable of hitting righties.

    Gomes is nothing more than a RH pinch hitter on a good team, yet he’s in the mix for the starting LF gig. Reds fans should be disappointed this is the best that the Reds could get to man RF. Instead, everyone is so excited. Why? Cause the dude looks good in a hat.

  11. Plowboy

    So basically, Gomes is a right-handed Adam Dunn but with only 314 PAs.

    Sound about right?

    Well, at least all the Dunn-haters from years past only have to see this guy in the field 30% or so of the games then. 😉

    • RiverCity Redleg

      Plowboy: So basically, Gomes is a right-handed Adam Dunn but with only 314 PAs.

      Gomes is not nearly as brutal in the field as AD was. Regardless of what these useless defensive stats say, Gomes was servicable in the field. Plus he has a much better arm than AD.

  12. Dan

    @JasonL: Yes, I was only talking about Gomes offensively! That’s why, if you’ll notice, in my original post, I said, “Gomes was the 2nd most productive Red last year (***OFFENSIVELY***), after Votto.”

    I said nothing about his defense at all!

    Look, I know his defense is not good. What I’m saying is, I like him, he’s a productive hitter, and to get a guy who hit 20 HR last year and slugged .541 for only $800,000, AND who seems to be a fun guy to have around the clubhouse… I’m all for it.

    I never said he was perfect, or a complete player, or a good defender, or ANYTHING like that. I said he’s good offensively.

    Oh, and David, as for “incapable of hitting righties”… Gomes hit 15 of his 20 HR vs. RHP’s last year, and batted .244/.320/.539 against them. At his price, I’ll totally take that.

  13. Plowboy

    I totally agree, RCR.

    I was just trying to stir things up! The “Adam Dunn Fights” on here always cracked me up.

    Has there ever been a more polarizing Reds player?

    • preach

      Probably not, but the Cabrera deal kinda reminded me of those times.

      Plowboy: I totally agree, RCR.I was just trying to stir things up! The “Adam Dunn Fights” on here always cracked me up.Has there ever been a more polarizing Reds player?

  14. JasonL

    @Dan: But here’s the thing… You want to say the Gomes was the 2nd best offensive player, fine, but let’s be totally honest about what he contributes… Among position players who spent all year with the Reds, Gomes was the 8th most valuable player overall. If you add in Rolen, he was 9th. He was the 5th most valuable outfielder!

    You what you do with your 9th best position player/5th best outfielder? You sit him on the bench and use him for pinch hitting and spot starts. That’s why it’s misleading to say he was the 2nd best hitter or whatever, it overstates his value enormously.

    • RiverCity Redleg

      JasonL: He was the 5th most valuable outfielder!

      How do you figure he was our 5th most valuable OF? That’s crazy. When you consider the entire season, who was better? Willy: definitely no, Dickerson: maybe, he was awful to start in LF, was injured some and came on strong in CF. Bruce: Maybe, defense was great, offense was horrible, injured. Stubbs: no, only played late in the season, great D, NO O. Nix: Not close. Who else?

  15. RiverCity Redleg

    Oh, I forgot Darnell McDonald. Tell me you didn’t base your arguement on footlockers, travel plans and Darnell McDonald.

  16. Dan

    @JasonL: Yeah, what stat are you using to say that?

    If it’s based on playing time, I’ll partially dismiss it, b/c I’m convinced Gomes should’ve been on the team from Day 1. Instead, they picked Darnell McDonald over him (??!!) and didn’t call Jonny up til, what, late May?

    I’m using either OPS or RC/27 (runs created per 27 outs) — rate stats that don’t depend on playing time.

    • david

      Dan: @JasonL: Yeah, what stat are you using to say that?If it’s based on playing time, I’ll partially dismiss it, b/c I’m convinced Gomes should’ve been on the team from Day 1. Instead, they picked Darnell McDonald over him (??!!) and didn’t call Jonny up til, what, late May?I’m using either OPS or RC/27 (runs created per 27 outs) — rate stats that don’t depend on playing time.

      He’s probably using WAR. See below:

      1.8 – Dickerson
      1.5 – Stubbs
      1.5 – Bruce
      1.2 – Nix
      0.8 – Gomes

      Couple of quick thoughts. I’m not sure Stubbs would qualify with a third of the ABs of Gomes. However, I would agree that adjusted over the course of a season Stubbs is the better OFer. Balentien was also more valuable at 1.0 WAR, though he also shouldn’t qualify in terms of ABs. I’m less inclined to consider Balentien the better player over the same span.

      That said, to your point, Dan… There are better options or equally productive players available at half the price in Frazier/Heisey/Balentien.

  17. Matt WI

    Player; PA; Hit RaR; UZR; FSR; Field; Pos Adj; WAR
    Joey Votto 544 53 -2 4 1 -9 4.9
    Brandon Phillips 644 22 7 16 10 2 3.8
    Chris Dickerson 299 7 8 7 8 -2 1.4
    Jay Bruce 387 8 8 7 7 -4 1.3
    Ryan Hanigan 293 0 7 6 7 5 1.2
    Drew Stubbs 196 5 8 4 5 1 1.1
    Jonny Gomes 314 18 -9 -6 -7 -3 1.0
    Scott Rolen 162 4 3 5 4 1 0.9

    This comes from a table over at Red Reporters. Even including defense, Gomes is 7th on the team. If we are strictly talking offensive production and you ignore his -9 UZR, I don’t see how he can be dismissed as the 5th outfielder or 9th best player on the team. For a team that sorely lacks offense, I don’t think you can dismiss his production out of hand. Not saying he’s the answer, I just don’t understand the flat dismissal.

  18. JasonL

    @david: Yup, I was using WAR. Also, someone mentioned Bruce being horrible offensively. Not true, he had enough power that he rated out a a more or less average hitter.

    But, yeah, David, that’s the point. Gomes is fine, but he’s not good enough to start. He’s a nice 4th/5th OFer and pinch hitter, though. Also, you can get the same thing already in the system.

    • pinson343

      JasonL: @david: Gomes is fine, but he’s not good enough to start. He’s a nice 4th/5th OFer and pinch hitter, though.

      Yep, and I’m glad he’s with us to play that role. It’s about organizational depth, and is the guy well-suited for that role.

  19. Dan

    I agree that just going w/ Balentien would’ve been fine. But at $800K, I see no problem w/ adding Jonny also. (Unless that leads to us releasing Balentien, since he has no options. That would be bad.)

    I will admit, though, one serious flaw of Jonny that no one has mentioned is that, on his career, he’s actually been terrible coming off the bench.

    Gomes (career)
    as a starter – .245/.334/.480 (1700 PA)
    off the bench – .160/.250/.293 (only 84 PA)

    I don’t know if that’s a big enough sample to mean anything (84 PA’s)… but if it is… that’s not good if he’s mainly going to be a pinch hitter.

  20. pinson343

    @Dan: Ugh, hopefully he can break out of that. We neeed a RHed bat off the bench, I was looking to him for that role.

  21. preach

    I’m actually suprised that he only has 84 PA’s off the bench.

    • mike

      preach: I’m actually suprised that he only has 84 PA’s off the bench.

      remember he started the season in AAA in favor of McDonald and didn’t get significant playing time until June. With only 314 total PA that means he got 27% of his PA off the bench.
      he just might be the perfect PH vs lefties at no cost
      and I’ve noticed he get knocked vs righties but last year he wasn’t horrible (all though limited PA) he hit for a .859 vs righties. Only Owings and Votto were better last year. .758 vs right handers for his career, while not good is also not so awful.

      I’m just surprised no AL team signed him to be a part time DH. At that cheap a price he’d be a perfect platoon DH

  22. BJ Ruble

    He is on the team because Bruce/Dickerson/Balentien/Nix all cannot hit lefties at all. Plain and simple.

    If Balentien could have proven to hit LHP last year, no way Gomes is back at all. There are too many lefties they face to not have a guy who can mash lefties like Gomes.

    Frazier/Heisey/Francisco all need more seasoning at the AAA level otherwise, Gomes probably would not have been signed. For 800k, the signing is meaningless…they could drop him at any time and not really hurt at all. I would spend 800k to hit LHP to get the three prospect above at least two full months in AAA. You have to remember none of those three have played two months at the AAA level yet.

    I don’t really don’t see Gomes’s option picked up next year which is fine with me because he is expendable at any time. BUT, you have to have someone who can prove to hit LHP in the outfield, and Gomes has done that very well.

  23. Plowboy

    My thoughts exactly, Mike.

    Why werent’ there any AL teams looking for Gomes to be their RH-hitting DH? That totally suits the guy’s skill set at a bargain price!

    Do those AL scouts know something we don’t, or are they just stupid? Frankly, I’d like to have a guy like Johnny on my team if all he had to do was hit lefties and not play D for practically nothing.

  24. mike

    @Plowboy:
    the one thing I haven’t looked at is, did any AL team need a DH
    and possibly as another article I read about Gomes said, guys that can mash lefties and not play defense are a dime a dozen in the minors.

    not that he can’t play defense but if you look at Heisey’s #s against lefties last year they are crazy. .362/.454/.567 I’m not suggesting the Reds do this but for arguments sake, what if the Reds platooned Heisey all the time in LF vs lefties?

  25. GRF

    Aren’t some of the same arguments about adding Cabrera applicable here? At this contract, isn’t he some valuable RH organizational depth, particularly given the power numbers in limited ABs? And while I agree with the comments on his defense (and I also agree with the comment expressing surprise an AL team did not look at him as a platoon DH/OF option) if Stubbs and Bruce play regularly I think that balances that problem out somewhat. Our OF appears more likely to be offensively challenged than defensively challenged on the whole.

    Plus, as fans I think we are allowed to (within reason) irrationally like a guy more than his stats may fully warrant. 😀

  26. Plowboy

    @ Mike

    Yes, definitely about which AL team actually needed a LH-powerman like Gomes. That’s the question.

    But even so, he’s proven, unlike a guy like Heisey who hasn’t done anything at the MLB level yet.

    I sure as heck hope he will because his numbers across the board are more than impressive. Obviously, it’s the same old thing: If Chris dominates at AAA (let alone what he might do in spring training), then it’s all gravy anyway. They can dump Gomes and bring in the new blood.

    Regardless, you gotta like Johnny’s power.

  27. hoosierdad

    Gotta have a guy on the bench who can come in and smoke some LH pitching. Need a guy on the bench to do that to RH pitching as well. We got lefty’s running out our ears. I like Gomes and I like the signing. IF the young guys are tearing up AAA you should be able to move him to a contender midseason that needs a good bat off the bench for a minor prospect. A no-brainer signing.

  28. TC

    @hoosierdad: Well stated. I think Nix is that guy from the left side. I’m split on Gomes. I was a strong advocate for his services about a month ago, but after a rather heated debate with someone here, I became less enthusiastic about him. It really limits the Reds options as far as who makes the club out of Spring Training. They’ll only bring 5 guys east. Two will be Bruce and Dickerson. Gomes with his major league deal must be a third. Balentien is out of options and Nix is the best defensive utility OF (also with a decent bat off the bench). That, leaves Stubbs and Heisey at AAA until someone gets hurt. I personally think this team is better with those two guys, but I don’t want them in Cincinnati sitting on the bench either. I am a strong advocate for having Nix on the team. You’ve got to rest those guys and Nix is the only one I trust at all three positions.

    • preach

      TC:
      I, too, am a Nix proponent at this point. He is very good in the field and has nice power from the left side. His OBP is sad, and he has holes in his swing, but I still think he has some upside yet to develop. He’s not past the point of development, especially since he spent so much time out with injuries earlier in his career (which I think he contended with until last season). I really like how he plays all outfield positions. My early choice for “best suprise player”.

      TC: @hoosierdad: Well stated. I think Nix is that guy from the left side. I’m split on Gomes. I was a strong advocate for his services about a month ago, but after a rather heated debate with someone here, I became less enthusiastic about him. It really limits the Reds options as far as who makes the club out of Spring Training. They’ll only bring 5 guys east. Two will be Bruce and Dickerson. Gomes with his major league deal must be a third. Balentien is out of options and Nix is the best defensive utility OF (also with a decent bat off the bench). That, leaves Stubbs and Heisey at AAA until someone gets hurt. I personally think this team is better with those two guys, but I don’t want them in Cincinnati sitting on the bench either. I am a strong advocate for having Nix on the team. You’ve got to rest those guys and Nix is the only one I trust at all three positions.

  29. Redsfanx

    Gomes is a good pinch hitter against lefties. Perfect as a DH against lefties in the AL. As for the Reds, let one of the young guys (Frazier, Francisco, Heisey or Dickerson) win the left field job since we don’t have the money to bring in Jermaine Dye.

  30. TC

    @Bill Lack: I-I don’t know. He should, but who of Bruce, Dickerson, Gomes, Nix, and Balentien do you drop? The only one you can leave behind without waiving is Nix.

  31. TC

    May have answered my own question. 😯 Who is the second best utility OF in the bunch? Dickerson. I’d like Dickerson to start, but it is the only way I can think of to get the overall best 5 OF on the club. That’s Bruce, Dickerson, Gomes, Stubbs, and Balentien/Heisey (who ever is doing better). You hate to let Balentien walk, but it’s put up or shut up time.

  32. Mark in CC

    @TC: Don’t be sitting in front of me with a Sombraro on.

  33. Mark in CC

    @JasonL: You correct Dan. He really needs to be a fulltime player as well instead of a platoon guy.

  34. TC

    To anyone who will please listen…

    I wish people who call Gomes a horrible defender would do their homework. Gomes’ numbers are a product of improper use. (Read all of this before you reply, please.)

    Gomes was a slightly better than average LFer last year. Don’t believe me, go look for yourself. He had a + UZR in left and had an overall fielding percentage of .991 (only one error in any zone all of last year). He’s got a rocket of an arm. He was used primarily as a DH for the Rays so he didn’t get much work in the outfield and when he did it was never in a consistent place. Last year was the most work he’s ever gotten in the field. He is not a utility outfielder which is how Dusty used him last year and the Rays used him in previous years. He seemed to finally figure out Left last year which is why I feel if you play him only there, he would have an overall positive UZR.

    On the offense side. His BABIP was a bit high as were is overall stats at the plate. Last year was not a completely typical year for Gomes though it was not his best, nor was it so far out of wake that it seems like an fluke. He did have a break out power year, but his OBP did not suffer. That said, I doubt he can produce like he did last year, but who knows. Regardless a guy with a career OPS of .801 and a career ISO of .230 can only help the team.

  35. BJ Ruble

    @TC: I still disagree that he is a good defender. Yes, he had a plus 2.2 in LF last year (only 253 innings), but his career in LF is -25.7 (but in only 589 innings). His total OF defense for his career in 1587 innings is a -22.3.

    Of course if he is playing next to an exceptional defensive centerfielder like Stubbs or Dickerson can be, his deficiencies can be hidden somewhat.

    He does seem to have a pretty good arm.

    I think he can be servicable if you have an exceptional defender in CF, but I am still not convinced that he the answer to play everyday in LF. I think he can make all the routine plays, but the plays where he has to cover a lot of ground is where he loses all his defensive value, at least in my opinion.

    It’s pretty tough to determine where exactly he falls for sure because he only has about a year a half worth of data in the field for his career due to him being a bench guy or DH.

  36. TC

    @BJ Ruble: I really think if he played at one place every day you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the improvement in his D. However, I think, ironically enough, that his offense against righties will keep him from playing every day, not his defense.

    • hoosierdad

      TC: @BJ Ruble: I really think if he played at one place every day you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the improvement in his D. However, I think, ironically enough, that his offense against righties will keep him from playing every day, not his defense.About 29% of all MLB starting pitchers are lefties. So 70% of the time Gomes would NOT be starting and playing LF but would be the RH pinch hitter off the bench.

  37. pinson343

    From what I saw, Gomes played a “servicable” LF last year. He’d occasionally misjudge a fly ball, but once he had a ball tracked he’d catch it, including some legitimate diving catches. And his arm was strong and accurate. RF was a different story, I don’t think any of us wants him playing there.

    Last year his power numbers were well above his career average, but his hitting was not a fluke or even a breakout year – he had a better year offensively in 2005, with more ABs.

  38. hoosierdad

    @hoosierdad: OK, that was wierd. I was to TC who was replying to BJRuble and my comment appeared in the middle. Oh well. My point is 70% of the time Gomes won’t be the starting left fielder, just a RH pinch hitter.