10:14am: Manager Jeff Banister revealed Sunday that Gomez will be the Rangers’ everyday left fielder when he joins the team, tweets Wilson. Profar and DeShields have been platooning there recently.
9:12am: Newly signed Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez will report to Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, but he could join the big league team as early as Thursday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Unsurprisingly, Rangers president and general manager Jon Daniels would like Gomez to debut with the first-place club in short order.
“We signed him with the hope that he can help us in the big leagues,” Daniels told Wilson. “Probably sooner than later given where we are on the calendar. We want to take a look at it before too much time passes.”
The 73-51 Rangers, who have a six-game lead in the American League West and own the AL’s best record, haven’t yet decided how often they’ll play Gomez or which position he’ll fill. One place he won’t line up is center field, Daniels said. While center is Gomez’s natural position and where he has spent nearly his entire major league career since debuting with the Mets in 2007, Texas has a better option on its roster in Ian Desmond.
Desmond has solidified the Rangers’ outfield up the middle, but they aren’t as well off in the corners – especially given the loss of right fielder Shin-Soo Choo to a fractured forearm earlier this week. Without Choo around, Jurickson Profar, Nomar Mazara, Ryan Rua, Delino DeShields Jr. and Drew Stubbs are the Rangers’ current choices, as their depth chart shows.
Like Gomez, Rua, DeShields and Stubbs are all right-handed hitters. The only one who has fared nicely versus lefties this year is Rua, though the 31-year-old Stubbs does own a .274/.349/.445 line against them in 932 career plate appearances. Historically, Gomez has performed similarly against both left- and right-handers, and that has continued this season. Unfortunately, though, that’s no longer a positive for the erstwhile star, whom lefties have held to a .221/.275/.326 line and righties have limited to a .205/.271/.320 output in 2016. As evidenced by those numbers, and the fact that the wild-card contending Astros released him amid a playoff race, Gomez no longer looks like any kind of a solution. However, Daniels felt Gomez was worth taking a flyer on for the prorated league minimum of $110K.
“The way we’re looking at it is he’s an extremely talented player who is having a down year,” Daniels stated. “He’s 30 years old; he’s still in his physical prime. Sometimes trades don’t work out the way the acquiring club intends. We’re taking a chance on him thinking he’s better than his most recent performance.”
Gomez, of course, was among the majors’ premier all-around players from 2013-14, when the ex-Brewer combined for 13.1 fWAR in 1,234 PAs and slashed .284/.347/.491 with 47 home runs and 74 stolen bases. Gomez’s career went into a tailspin when Houston acquired him last summer. Now, the Rangers are left to hope that a change of scenery serves him well.