Report: Braves pursuing Gomes for LF
Last week’s trade of Evan Gattis to the Astros created some uncertainty as to who will be in left field for the Braves this season, but they reportedly are chasing down a partial answer.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported Tuesday that Atlanta is pursuing veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes for a platoon role with Zolio Almonte.
Gomes, 34, spent last season with the Red Sox and A’s, hitting a collective .234/.327/.330 with six home runs, eight doubles and 37 RBI in 209 at-bats. The 12-year veteran is a career .244 hitter, though Gomes been near that number once in the last four years with a .262 average in 2012 when he was with the Nationals.
Almonte, who the Braves signed as a free agent in November, showed potential while in the Yankees farm system. He hit a combined 45 home runs the past three seasons in Double-A and Triple-A, but has just 142 major league at-bats over 47 games, posting a .211/.242/.282 line with four doubles, two homers and 12 RBI.
A switch-hitter, Almonte’s numbers at big league level aren’t much better from one side or the other (he’s hit .215 vs. right-handers and .200 against lefties), but he’s clearly more comfortable from the left side of the plate with 72 more at-bats so far as a lefty.
While B.J. Upton is expected to continue his run in center field, the Braves could have a new and potentially older look in the outfield should they add Gomes.
As previously stated, Gomes is 34, Upton turned 30 last season and new left fielder Nick Markakis is 31. On Opening Day 2014, the Braves took the field with a group that included a 24-year-old Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, 26.