In a post to MetsMerized Online, Connor O'Brien wonders if free agent OF Jonny Gomes could be a fit for the Mets outfield next season.
"Gomes ... had a great season in a platoon role for the Oakland A’s this season," O'Brien writes. "Gomes would bring pop to the lineup, as well as the ability to hit left-handed pitching. The Mets as a team had a meager .675 OPS against lefties last season, 26th in the majors. This season, Gomes had a .299/.413/.561 batting line in 196 plate appearances against left-handed pitching."
Jane Lee of MLB.com recently said the A’s would like to bring Gomes back next season, although A’s manager Bob Melvin said Gomes’ situation is a “work in progress.”
Gomes, 31, signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the A’s this past January. He hit .262 with 18 home runs and 47 RBI in 279 at-bats over 99 games with Oakland in 2012.
Gomes is an interesting player, and someone the Mets could consider this winter. He is very similar to Scott Hairston in that he has always hits left-handers very well, but has struggled against right-handers. As Connor said, Gomes had a very strong season against left-handed pitching once again and generally showed improved patience at the plate in 2012. Gomes also reportedly served as a strong leader for a young and inexperienced A's roster, and that plays a significant role in their desire to bring him back next season (and a very good reason for a team like the Mets to sign Gomes).
There are issues with Gomes, however. First, he was uncharacteristically patient in 2012 - he posted an on-base percentage which was 43 points higher than his career mark - so its questionable whether he can maintain that patience and approach into next season. Second, if the Mets were to sign Gomes, he would be an everyday outfielder in all probability. He could conceivably platoon with Lucas Duda or Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but unless the Mets make more acquisitions for the outfield, they do not have the depth to create a platoon immediately. And so, if Gomes were to play everyday, there is a risk of over-exposure.
Then again, when considering outfielders at these salary levels, they are all going to come with shortcomings the team might have to gamble with.