Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox have narrowed their search in left field to two names: Cody Ross, and Jonny Gomes
According to Sean McAdam, the Red Sox have narrowed their search in the outfield to Cody Ross and Jonny Gomes.
Now, given that the Sox have two open outfield positions, that doesn't sound so great. But before you start panicking, note this bit at the end:
Either Ross or Gomes would play left field, with the Sox still in the market for a right fielder, or, at the very least, another outfielder to platoon with Ryan Kalish.
Now before your panic reaches new heights, try reading that without the speculative bit at the end about Ryan Kalish.
It seems like only one of Ross or Gomes will be coming over (or in Ross' case, back) to Fenway, and whoever it is will be relegated to playing in front of the Monster. As such, we can ignore Gomes' less-than-impressive defensive abilities and focus in more on the bats.
Of course, we all know what Cody Ross can do in Fenway after last year, and we also know what he can't do. For all that he was enjoyable to watch, Ross did end the season with a line of .267/.326/.481. That's good, but it's not great, and in the end he was very easy for right-handed pitchers to pitch to.
Gomes has big splits of his own, though, which makes that sort of a moot point. Other than that, though, he's a really hard guy to get a handle on. He bounces around between hitting like an All-Star and doing his best Wily Mo Pena impression at the plate. Signing him seems like just about the biggest gamble the team could take on short money, though there's sure to be a lot of strikeouts whether they come out winners or losers.
It's really hard for me to come up with a scenario where Gomes would be preferable to Ross. Ross can play right field if needed thanks to his arm, Gomes can play DH if needed thanks to the fact that Fenway security will (hopefully) forcibly restrain him from taking the field anywhere outside of left. Ross can definitely take advantage of Fenway's fun dimensions, who can say with Gomes? Ross can fit in the clubhouse well, Gomes might or might not. Fans will give Ross a little leeway, but a couple bad weeks to start the season could bury Gomes. Ross seems entirely likely to give us something, if not necessarily an All-Star season, while Gomes could easily bring nothing to the table at all.
The one thing Gomes has going for him is that he'd be cheaper, but isn't this sort of the situation where you'd just want the Sox to splash the cash? I'm not saying they give Ross 3/36 or anything, but maybe meet him halfway? Even if he doesn't end up being worth it in a third year, he's a guy who can be useful if they pick his spots--at home, or against lefties.