Braves sign veteran OF Jonny Gomes to 1-year deal
The Atlanta Braves added Jonny Gomes’s name to a long list of offseason veteran signings, bringing in the journeyman outfielder on a one-year deal with a vesting option, according to FOX Sports MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal and multiple media reports. Gomes will be expected to compete for the team’s left field spot, left vacant with the trade of Justin Upton, possibly in a platoon situation.
The 34-year-old Gomes spent his 2014 season with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics, hitting .234/.327/.330 with six home runs. His negative-0.3 wins above replacement ranked as his worst season since 2010 with the Cincinnati Reds.
Gomes is the third outfielder with MLB experience the Braves have brought in to help replace the production of Upton and Jason Heyward, joining Nick Markakis and Zoilo Almonte. While Markakis signed a four-year deal and is expected to hold down the right-field spot, Gomes and Almonte could be a part of a platoon situation in left — a possibility Fredi Gonzalez said he will not shy away from during the 2015 season. B.J. Upton will once again open the season as the starting center fielder.
The addition of Gomes will add another veteran presence in the Braves locker room, but it will not bring any power to an already power-deficient Atlanta outfield. Last season, B.J. Upton, Markakis and Gomes combined for just 32 home runs in 1,613 plate appearances. With all three players already in their 30s, it is shaping up to be one of the least powerful outfields in baseball. (Only the Royals, Mariners and Red Sox outfields hit 32 or fewer homers last season.)
The Braves were, once again, the 29th-lowest scoring team in baseball last season. Bringing in Gomes will not immediately solve those issues, but it at least clears things up for Gonzalez’s outfield heading into spring training.