Veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes will sign a one-year, $2MM contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The MVP Sports client can also earn an additional $1MM worth of incentives, Rosenthal adds, and his contract contains a mutual option for the 2017 season as well.
Gomes expressed some frustration regarding the generally slow-moving nature of the free-agent market for position players this year when speaking to Rosenthal. “This is not how it’s supposed to be,” said Gomes. “It seems like the players are getting bullied. It’s February. These people are human beings. They have families. They’ve got to make plans. I’m not trying to get back at baseball by any means. But I’m not just going to hang around. What has changed since the end of September? It’s not like a guy is hot right now or in a slump.”
The 35-year-old Gomes is known for his strong clubhouse presence and ability to crush left-handed pitching, although his numbers versus lefties have tailed off in recent seasons. Though Gomes has batted a very solid .250/.363/.409 when holding the platoon advantage over the past three seasons, those numbers do pale in comparison to the .284/.382/.512 batting line he posted against lefties up through the 2012 season. This past year, Gomes split the season between the Braves and the Royals, batting a combined .213/.313/.347 in 262 plate appearances (.227/.371/.412 against lefties).
Gomes made clear to Rosenthal that he’s still planning on playing beyond the 2016 season, whether it’s in the Major Leagues or overseas. “This isn’t a farewell tour. This isn’t like my last year,” he told Rosenthal. “I have no plans of hanging it up. I can always come back or — if I take off over there — finish my career there.” Gomes also spoke about his excitement over adding another layer of experience to his resume with an eye toward coaching, managing or a career in broadcasting once his playing career is over.