BOSTON On Saturday, the Red Sox officially announced the signing of outfielder Jonny Gomes to a two-year, 10 million contract. Gomes, 32, appeared in 99 games for the As last season, batting .262 with 18 home runs, 47 RBI, a .377 on-base percentage, and .491 slugging percentage. He appeared in 39 games (25 starts) in left field, three in right field, and served as the designated hitter in 53. He will primarily play left field for the Sox.
I see him playing a lot of left field, said general manger Ben Cherington. We think his bat fits well in the lineup, in the ballpark. Did a lot of work on him and hes developed a really good reputation as a leader in the clubhouse, a guy that can mentor young players and make an influence. He plays with an edge. Hes used to the AL East. So just thought it would be a good fit all the way around.
Asked if Gomes will be an everyday player, Cherington replied:
We expect him to play a lot. Exactly how many at-bats that ends up being, thats up to manager John Farrell and I guess up to Jonny to some degree and how he performs. But hell have an opportunity to play a lot. We see him as an important part of the team and the lineup.
In 31 career games at Fenway Park, Gomes, a right-handed hitter, has hit .262 with three home runs, seven RBI, a .354 OBP, and .429 SLG. He hit .2991126.413.561 in 196 plate appearances against left-handed hitters in 2012, .209721.324.391 against righties.
Hes had opportunities where he has handled right-handers pretty well, Cherington said. We think the ballpark is a good fit for him. Hes a grinder. Hes an intense competitor. So well see . I think theres, match-ups arent always about left -right. Sometimes theres certain pitchers that a guys a good fit with and others who they arent. So those things are up to John and the staff to figure out. But Jonnys a guy who we just felt fits well on a number of fronts, from a personality standpoint from an ability standpoint into what were trying to do.
Asked if the acquisition of Gomes means the team needs just one outfielder now to complement Gomes in left and Jacoby Ellsbury in center, Cherington replied:
Well, we certainly need one. I wouldnt rule out more than that. But wed like to add another outfielder, and after that well see whats available.
Whether that will be strictly a right fielder remains to be seen.
Weve always felt its important in Fenway to have not just somebody to play right field, but somebody, two guys that could handle center or right, Cherington said. I think our best teams have had that in the past. And its easier said than done but that would be optimal to have that kind of a lineup.
Because Gomes profiles similarly to Cody Ross, Cherington was asked what effect Gomes acquisition might have on the teams interest in Ross.
We talked a fair amount with Ross before we came to an agreement with Gomes, Cherington said. And were still talking. So I dont want to comment on the exact nature of the talks. But were trying to put the best team together, one that works, and a roster that works. Were still talking to Cody along with several other guys.
The communication with Ross has been consistent. Ive talked to him, Ive talked to his agent several times. Were keeping the door open to dialogue. Im sure hes talking to other teams as well. Well keep talking and see where things end up.