The outrage here is really perplexing. Ross is stated to want three years at over $20 million. Ross is an average defender who only hits well at Fenway Park. He is absolutely awful on the road. The good is that he's great at Fenway and crushes lefties. But last year that accounted for a grand total of 150 PA (against LHP - no clue about LHP at Fenway Park). The rest of his 378 PA against righties saw a paltry .729 OPS (.308/.422). He is like a quarter time platoon player who wants to play and get paid like a full time player.
Gomes is a player who will hit well at Fenway (though, not Ross well), and hit well on the road. He will get schooled by RHP, but crush LHP. But, the difference is that there is no expectation that he will start, and will most likely be happy with a platoon. He is also being paid like a platoon player to boot. $5 million a year is nothing to fret about.
Some other nice things about Gomes is that he has posted elite walk rates his last two years of 12.9% and 13.2%. One of the troubling trends we've seen in the past three years is the propensity of the FO to shy away from high walk players. There is evidence that this boost in walk rate is because of an adjustment in plate approach:
J Gomes Plate Discipline
|Jonny Gomes PitchFX Plate Discipline || || || |
| Year || O-Swing || Z-Swing || BB% |
| 2008 || 34.20% || 63.60% || 8.50% |
| 2009 || 31.40% || 64.50% || 8.40% |
| 2010 || 35.00% || 68.50% || 6.80% |
| 2011 || 24.50% || 50.40% || 12.90% |
| 2012 || 24.90% || 50.50% || 13.20% |
Starting in 2011 he started swinging a lot less both inside and outside the zone. More selectivity at the plate most likely resulted in more walks, as evidenced by the jump in walk rates. I think one of the big positives is that an aging player adjusted his approach to stay in the league longer. The only thing we don't know is what his true performance is over these last two years. His BABIP was unusually low in 2011 at .259, while unsustainably high in 2012 at .348. I actually think Bill James projections for him are about right, which make Gomes an average player at getting on base - not bad for $5 million a year.
Two things jump out at me as things to be concerned about. The first is his decline in contact rate. The second is his high strikeout rate. Both are concerning, and bear watching. If Gomes is used as a platoon by Farrell then he'll be fine and I like the signing - he gets on base, has good power, and crushes lefties.
Edit: Cleaned up last sentence.
Edited by ScubaSteveAvery, 21 November 2012 - 10:17 PM.