Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/23/12
Forget what you know about the lore of the Boston Red Sox’ 2000s success. Even in the movie Moneyball, itself, the film’s post script contains a note that Boston won its 2004 world championship on the back of Billy Beane-like principles. Likewise, Theo Epstein has been trumpeted as a computer-geek wonderboy who played the Red Sox like a deck of cards and won two high-stakes hands in 2004 and 2007. This is mostly false. With players like J.D. Drew and Kevin Youkilis at the forefront, the 2007 team was closer to a Moneyball-eque squad. However, both championships were more the result of the Red Sox’ ability to buy premium, high-price talent like Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and Josh Beckett. To be fair, a few shrewd acquisitions (David Ortiz, Jason Varitek) and developing talented players via the farm system (Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Youkilis) had a hand in that success, as well. And while the Red Sox will always be a hybrid of high-price talent and minor league development, the signing of Jonny Gomes to a two-year, $10 million contract is a strong indication that the team is closer than ever to the Moneyball model. Gomes may not be the splashy signing Red Sox Nation had hoped for, but what he may well end up being is one of the best bargains on the free agent market. Off the bat, Gomes’ multifaceted downside is obvious. For one, he’s limited to left field, and a below-average defender at best. Fenway Park, of course, limits the liability in terms of left fielders and the amount of ground they have to cover, but Gomes played more as a designated hitter in 2012 with the Athletics than he did in the outfield. The other downside to Gomes is that he is best deployed as a platoon option. Gomes had a .974 OPS in 196 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers in 2012, but a .715 mark in 137 plate appearances against right-handers. All that being said, there are a lot of things that Gomes does well which can really help the Red Sox. The first is the old cry of the Moneyball philosophy: he gets on base. Gomes’ batting average doesn’t look pretty, but his .334 on-base percentage and .455 slugging percentage are more than just respectable — they’re the mark of an offensive plus who’s now moving to a haven for right-handed hitters. Speaking of Fenway Park, Gomes has had a fair sample size of at-bats throughout his career, and the numbers are about in line with his career averages. Gomes has started 24 games at Fenway, and put up a .783 OPS, including three home runs. Considering he faced some stacked Red Sox rotations during his years with the Devil Rays, those numbers a pretty fair for the ballpark. Either way, Gomes, though turning 32 on Thursday, could prove to be a bargain for the Red Sox, and he doesn’t figure to be much of a risk. The Sox know what kind of player they’re getting and aren’t likely asking him to be an everyday left fielder. However, if he can continue to do the things the Red Sox like about him — getting on base and hitting right-handed pitching with power — then he could prove to be very valuable as the Red Sox retool their roster. The inevitable questions then become what this means for the rest of the Red Sox roster and offseason. The answer is that it definitely doesn’t preclude the Red Sox from going after any of the other free agent outfielders out there, namely Cody Ross and Josh Hamilton. Hamilton may be unlikely for reasons beyond the presence of Gomes, but it does give the Red Sox some insurance in case the market for Ross inflates beyond what Boston sees as reasonable — but the Red Sox still do have a hole in right field. But more to the point, Gomes’ production in 2012 wasn’t far off Ross’. But the Gomes signing is far more interesting for what it may mean for the Red Sox, philosophically. Just to reiterate it, Boston will always have a certain amount of high-price talent on its roster, but what the Gomes signing does is reinforce that the Red Sox are committed to following through on the principles that general manager Ben Cherington has always espoused: discipline and financial flexibility. Bringing in Gomes is not the splashy move that may or may not be coming. But it’s the kind of move that allows the team to remain competitive while continuing to hunt down those splashy signings — but opportunistically, rather than taking on contracts the team isn’t comfortable with. It’s a sign of the realities of the luxury-tax era and that even the deep-pocketed Red Sox have financial constraints, so the signing must be understood in this kind of context. But given the realities of overhauling a roster heading into 2013, it could be a very Shrewd move for the Red Sox. Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Report: Police recommend charges against LeSean McCoy

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Heat interested in Kings’ 3-point specialist Omri Casspi

Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Browns LB Armonty Bryant indicted on felony drug charge

Report: Danny Ainge 'excited' at chance to add Al Horford

Pat Haden collapsed on USC campus

Colts on Andrew Luck contract: ‘It’s going to be a shocking number’

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

Terrell Owens says Cris Carter 'begged his way' into HOF

QUIZ: Name every WWE Heavyweight Champion

Three NHL players who can cement their legacies like Peyton Manning

Top 11 story lines for the 2016 NFL offseason

Vince Carter: I’ll know when, but I’m not ready to retire

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker