8:56pm: The Mets aren’t giving off indications that they have serious interest in Gomez, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets. Though GM Sandy Alderson has “left [the] door open,” says Carig, his comments “sounded like diplomacy” rather than the prelude to a move on the veteran outfielder.
12:40pm: ESPN’s Mark Saxon tweets that the Cardinals are indeed looking into Gomez, and his ability to play center field is a big draw for them. However, he notes that St. Louis could be outbid by the Mets. Saxon adds in a second tweet that Gomez is expected to be traded rather than waived and released. Shortly after Gomez’s DFA earlier this week, the Mets were said to be “open” to reacquiring him. Gomez came up through the Mets’ farm system and was lauded as one of the game’s top prospects before he was traded to the Twins as part of the Johan Santana package.
11:00am: The Cardinals will explore the possibility of adding recently designated center fielder Carlos Gomez, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). According to Goold, they’ll try to ascertain the reasons for his sudden decline and determine whether they believe he can rediscover his form and help the 2016 club. Adding onto that, Goold said in an appearance on the Ryan Kelley Morning Show on 105.7 FM / 920 AM in St. Louis that the Cards have “legitimate curiosity” in Gomez and were intrigued by him even before last night, when left fielder Matt Holliday suffered a fractured thumb that could cost him much of the remaining season.
Gomez was a big-name addition for the Astros last July, when Houston parted with four prospects to pry Gomez and right-hander Mike Fiers away from the Brewers. However, there were some medical concerns about Gomez at the time — a trade to the Mets was reportedly nixed in part due to concerns surrounding Gomez’s hip — and he performed dreadfully in the calendar year for which he donned an Astros uniform. The 30-year-old batted just .221/.277/.342 in 126 games for the Astros — a far cry from the terrific .278/.342/.475 batting line he compiled from Opening Day 2013 until the time of said trade. Gomez remains a base-stealing threat, but even defensive metrics have soured on his once-elite skill set in center field. Of course, he missed time in 2015 with a hamstring injury, played through alleged hip issues last season and spent more than a month on the DL in 2016 after injuring his rib cage while laying out to make a diving catch. Any and all of those issues could contribute to a decline in his defensive prowess in the outfield.
For the Cardinals, center field has been a revolving door for quite some time. Last year saw Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos deliver underwhelming performances before Randal Grichuk looked to seize the job, but Grichuk has taken a significant step back in 2016 and has been optioned to the minors on multiple occasions (though he’s back in the Majors now). Beyond Grichuk, the Cards have trotted out Tommy Pham, Jeremy Hazelbaker and even displaced second baseman Kolten Wong as they look to find a dependable everyday solution.
While Gomez is far from a certainty to fill that need, he could add an option with significant upside if he is ultimately released. That fate could very well be his outcome, as Gomez is owed $2.51MM through season’s end, and any claiming team would be on the hook for that sum. (And, while a trade is certainly another possibility, one can imagine that the recent data breach issues between the two teams in question here might create a reluctance to enter into such negotiations.)