Seattle Mariners Checking In On OF Jonny Gomes

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The Seattle Mariners aren’t done making moves this offseason. After signing Nelson Cruz (4 years, $58 million), giving Kyle Seager a contract extension (7 years, $100 million), and trading away Michael Saunders for pitching depth (J.A. Happ), the Mariners have more moves to make to be competitive in 2014.

Enter tweets from Jerry Crasnick regarding a certain right-handed outfielder, Jonny Gomes:

Gomes, 34, split time between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics after being traded midseason to the A’s in a deal that sent Yoenis Cespedes to Boston. As a left fielder with a right-handed bat, Jonny Gomes could profile as an outfield platoon bat to go with Dustin Ackley:

Since 2012, Jonny Gomes has logged 495 at-bats against left-handed pitching– amounting to somewhere around 120 games of full-time play. In those at-bats, he hit .271/.378/.459 with 23 home runs, 77 RBI, and 24 doubles. He also walked 78 times to go with 147 strikeouts. Of those numbers, the .378 on-base percentage is hard to ignore.

A .378 OBP would have been 2nd highest on the Mariners in 2014, second only to second baseman Robinson Cano. Even if he only played 81 games in a platoon role, getting on base at that clip, especially against lefties, would give a major boost to a lineup that struggled with southpaws for most of last season.

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Should the Mariners strongly consider signing Jonny Gomes?My short answer to that is a maybe. If he comes at a cost of less than $6 million a season, then it’s closer to a yes than a no. But, looking at the 2015 Steamer projections that project Gomes for a 0.1 WAR in 2015, he’s really only worth something like $700,000 for next year. His dWAR is extremely low, and as a platoon player for the M’s he would spend most of his time in the outfield.  The Mariners would likely overpay him tenfold, and in the end he would be the same age as DH/OF Nelson Cruz without the same consistent pop and plate discipline.

If the Mariners want to add talent to the 2015 roster, it needs to be in the outfield. However, a guy like Jonny Gomes is not the answer. They need to find someone younger and better, who can play every day in left field, if not at least 80% of the time where the other 20% Nelson Cruz could fill in.

Unfortunately, players that profile as such are unavailable on the free agent market. Meaning, the Mariners will have to look the trade market to find that kind of bat– Justin Upton? Matt Kemp? But anyone worth trading for will cost an arm and a leg, or in other words Taijuan Walker.

The Mariners need more pop in the outfield. It’ll be interesting to see how, if, and where, they get that production from in 2015.

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