Oufielder Carlos Gomez is expected to seek a multi-year contract in free agency, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. In fact, per the report, Gomez may attempt to receive as many as five guaranteed years.
That length of contract would be a surprise for someone who’ll soon turn 31 years of age and hasn’t played at his typical levels over the past two seasons. But multiple years certainly seem achievable if that is what Gomez prefers.
The question was — and, perhaps, still is — whether Gomez will be able to secure enough guaranteed money to take a multi-year pact rather than accepting a one-year deal with hopes of boosting his value. Agent Scott Boras has pursued pillow contracts in the past (e.g., Edwin Jackson) rather than settling for disappointing offers, and even took a qualifying offer last year with Matt Wieters before fully testing his market value.
One notable factor is that Gomez is not eligible to be hit with a qualifying offer from the Rangers because he spent the first half of the season with another organization. That distinguishes him from Dexter Fowler and Ian Desmond, the other top center field-capable outfielders available, and could help open his market up to some teams that are loath to part with a draft pick.
It’s also fair to wonder whether Gomez has greater incentive to max out his earnings than would some other free agents. He previously took a three-year, $24MM extension with the Brewers — a healthy sum, no doubt, but also far less than he would have been able to command on the open market.
In the final analysis, teams and Gomez will be faced with some tough calls. At base, they’ll relate to the same question: is he still capable of providing significant value up the middle and at the plate? Or is he just a passable defensive outfielder who is no longer a big power or on-base threat?
Gomez has shown both sides of late, of course. In 126 games with the Astros, he managed only a .221/.277/.342 slash with nine home runs (but also 23 stolen bases). But he seemed to be rejuvenated after joining the Rangers, slashing .284/.362/.543 and hitting eight dingers over 130 plate appearances. And Boras suggests to Heyman that the team also helped him improve his vision — lending some credence to the idea that there was a real turnaround rather than a sample blip.