Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/22/12
Jonny Gomes isn't the most talented player available on the free agent market, but he is widely regarded as being among the most personable. For the reloading Boston Red Sox, that's an important quality. And so, on the eve of Thanksgiving, the Red Sox reportedly signed Gomes to a two-year contract worth $10 million. Likewise, the role for Gomes remained unclear. A part-time player for most of his 10-year career, Gomes plays both left field and right field, though his defense isn't particularly good. But his right-handed swing and pull power could make him a good fit at Fenway Park. Perhaps Gomes' most attractive trait is his leadership and charisma. He's known as a positive clubhouse presence, something that has been lacking for the Red Sox for the past two seasons. Gomes, who turned 32 on Thanksgiving, enjoyed something of a career revival last season with the Oakland Athletics, batting .262 with 18 homers, 47 RBI and a career-high .377 on-base percentage in 333 plate appearances. He signed a one-year, $1 million deal with Oakland last winter. Overall, Gomes is a career .244 hitter with a .334 on-base percentage, .455 slugging percentage, 136 homers and 411 RBI with four teams. He spent six seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays before bouncing among three teams (Cincinnati, Washington and Oakland) over the past two years. Gomes has gotten at least 400 at-bats in a season only once, in 2010 with the Reds. Thus, there's a strong possibility the Red Sox could utilize him in a platoon with a left-handed-hitting outfielder such as Ryan Kalish or even switch-hitting Daniel Nava, who had far better splits this season from the left side of the plate (.269/.383/.414 compared to .185/.280/.333 as a right-handed hitter). The addition of Gomes wouldn't preclude the Red Sox from adding other outfielders, including potentially re-signing Cody Ross. In fact, general manager Ben Cherington has said numerous times that the club is in the market for a pair of everyday outfielders to flank center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
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